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Telephone Consumer Protection Act Does Not Apply if Business Relationship Exists
Description Appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought against a newspaper for making telephone solicitations despite being asked not to. The calls were not in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because the consumer subscribed to the newspaper, creating an existing business relationship, which exempts the newspaper from the law.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Telephone Solicitation; Business Relationship
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Charvat subscribes to the Columbus, Ohio "Dispatch" newspaper on Sundays only. He had received some calls from the paper asking him to subscribe. He called the paper to ask that they stop making solicitation calls to him, but he received two more calls. He then sued the paper for improper telephone solicitations, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), for calling him after he had requested to be put on a "do-not-call" list. The paper claimed that under the TCPA they had an established business relationship with Charvart and so are not subject to its rules regarding do-not-call requests. The trial court dismissed the suit. Charvat appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "Based on the plain language of the statutory and regulatory actions, [the paper has] an ongoing established business relationship with [Charvat] during the relevant time period [and so is] exempt from liability under the TCPA." Under the law, a business relationship means "a prior or existing relationship formed by a voluntary two-way communication between a person or entity and a residential subscriber with or without an exchange of consideration." Charvat would have to cancel his subscription to the newspaper to end the business relationship in order for the statute to become effective regarding telephone solicitations from the newspaper.
Citation Charvat v. Dispatch Consumer Services, Inc., 2000 WL 1180258 (Ct. App., Ohio, 2000)

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