Pursuant to its interpretive authority over the TCPA, the FCC has previously ruled that a debt collector does not violate the TCPA by calling a cellular phone number provided by the consumer to the creditor because such calls are made with “prior express consent.” See In re Rules Implementing the Tel. Consumer Prot. Act of 1991, 23 FCC Rcd at 564-565 (“the provision of a cell phone number to a creditor, e.g., as part of a credit application, reasonably evidences prior express consent by the cell phone subscriber to be contacted at that number regarding the debt.”)
In Baisden v. Credit Adjustments, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2465, *18 (6th Cir. Feb. 12, 2016), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted this Rule to include the provision of a cell phone number to one entity (a hospital), who then provides that number to another related entity (anesthesiology group) from whom the consumer incurred a debt as part of the same transaction. In so holding, the Court of Appeals rejected Plaintiffs’ argument that in order for prior express consent to exist, the consumers needed to have directly provided their cell phone numbers to the creditor. Instead, the Court ruled: “the provision of a cell phone number to a hospital that then provides that cell phone number to an affiliated physicians’ group” is sufficient for “prior express consent.” This ruling follows in the footsteps of a similar ruling by the Eleventh Circuit in Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc., 768 F.3d 1110 (11th Cir. 2014).