On August 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) “permits a consumer to partially revoke her consent to be called by means of an automatic telephone dialing system.” As alleged in this case, when the consumer plaintiff applied for a credit card, she broadly consented to receive automated calls from the bank defendant on her cell phone. After falling behind on her payments, she started receiving automated delinquency calls from the bank. On an October 2014 call with a bank employee, the plaintiff expressed that she did not want to receive these automated calls “in the morning” and “during the work day.” The plaintiff claimed that the bank violated the TCPA by making “over 200 automated calls” thereafter during these restricted times of day, until she fully revoked consent in March 2015.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida had granted summary judgment in favor of the bank, but the Eleventh Circuit reversed. The Eleventh Circuit disagreed with the bank’s legal argument that “the only effective revocations are unequivocal requests for no further communications whatsoever.” Instead, the court concluded that “the TCPA allows a consumer to provide limited, i.e., restricted, consent for the receipt of automated calls,” and that “unlimited consent, once given, can also be partially revoked as to future automated calls under the TCPA.” The court also concluded that there was an “issue of material fact” as to whether the plaintiff’s October 2014 statements constituted a partial revocation. Noting that “[t]his issue is close,” the court explained that a reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff revoked her consent to be called “in the morning” and “during the work day,” even if she did not specify exactly what times she meant. Accordingly, the court remanded for trial.