Legal Question in Telecomm Law in California

Collection / Creditor Calls

I receive a lot of collection/creditor calls.

Can I use the actual recorded message the telephone company uses for disconnected numbers?

I plan to record the actual message from the telephone company and place it on my answering machine.

I am hoping the creditors will think it is an actual disconnected number and will stop calling me.

Am I violating any copyright or trademark laws by doing this?

Asked on 5/21/07, 6:21 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Gordon Firemark Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark

Re: Collection / Creditor Calls

This really isn't a telecommunications law question...

Technically, this would be a copyright infringement. Moreover, you might be accused of some kind of fraud.

Also, I doubt it will fool or discourage your creditors.

You should investigate the provisions of the FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT (FDCPA), which may help you prevent these annoying collection calls.

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Answered on 5/21/07, 6:27 pm
Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

Re: Collection / Creditor Calls

I respectfully disagree with my law school classmate, Mr. Firemark, in part: Don't use the entire 'disconnected' recording, just the three tones (985.2 Hz, 1370.6 Hz, and 1776.7 Hz) followed by your own message. This might well fool "predictive dialer" automated calling machines! I googled for "disconnect tones" and found several pages with suggestions to this effect, some with .wav recordings of the actual tones. I doubt any copyright or trademark issues would exist with regard to the actual tones... just the "I'm sorry...."

You could also try various legal ways of getting creditors to stop calling which include 1) paying them; 2) filing for bankruptcy; 3) demanding written verification under the FDCPA (google for this). Try or for more info.

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Answered on 5/21/07, 6:46 pm

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