Telemarketing Abuse Attorneys
The use of robocalls, or phone calls placed with an automatic dialer or those that use prerecorded or artificial voices, are strictly regulated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), along with several state laws. Passed in 1991, this federal law restricts telephone solicitations and the use of automated telephone equipment. Specifically, the TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, prerecorded voice messages, and unsolicited text messages.
Today, consumers receive more robocalls and unsolicited text messages than ever. Technology is the reason. Companies use autodialers to send out thousands of phone calls and text messages every minute for an incredibly low cost.
What is a Robocall?
If you pick up the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, that’s a robocall. Similarly, if someone leaves you a prerecorded message, that’s a robocall, too. If the recording is a sales message, and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, then the call is illegal. Period.
Robocalls to Cellphones
Robocalls made to a cellphone are usually illegal unless you give consent to receive the call by giving the number as contact information. It is not necessary that you be charged for the call. The prohibition extends to telemarketing and collection calls.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found that consumers who give their cellphone number to a business as contact information have given consent to receive robocalls. This is why it’s important to be careful about who you give your cellphone number to.
Robocalls to Landlines
The TCPA also regulates robocalls made to landlines. Previously, telemarketing robocalls to landlines were prohibited unless the consumer gave permission to receive the call or there was an established business relationship.
The FCC enacted amendments to the law in 2012, which means all telemarketing robocalls are now banned unless the consumer has given written consent. This includes checking a box online. A consumer cannot be forced to give consent to receiving robocalls to make a purchase, and the consumer must be clearly informed that they will receive future calls delivering prerecorded messages on behalf of a specific business. This consent can only relate to the designated phone number.
The new regulations also require robocalls have an interactive opt-out feature at the start of the message. If a consumer opts out, the number must be added to a do-not-call list and the phone call must disconnect. For messages left on a consumer’s voicemail, a toll-free number must be included to opt out.
The law also requires telemarketers state their name, the name of the business, and the phone number or address of the business. These calls cannot be made before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm in the recipient’s time zone.
It’s important to note that these telemarketing restrictions to landlines do not apply to debt collection calls, calls made for political reasons, calls on behalf of a tax-exempt non-profit organization, or informational messages.
You May Be Entitled to Damages
The law allows damages of $500 for every violation of fax and robocall restrictions. These damages can be raised to $1,500 in the case of a willful violation. Injunctive relief, or a court-ordered prohibition, is also authorized.
If you have added your phone number to the National Do-Not-Call Registry, and you have received more than one call within 12 months on behalf of the same entity in violation of FCC regulations, you are entitled to recover your actual damages or up to $500 in damages per violation. Under this provision, you cannot recover damages for the first call violation, but you can be awarded damages for each subsequent call.
Many states, including Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, Utah, Washington, Minnesota, and North Dakota, have additional restrictions of robocalling.
What You Can Do
If you receive a voicemail message, text message, or fax in violation of federal or state law, keep it. In the case of a voicemail, listen to the message and return the call. Write down who answers your call and the company they represent.
If you receive an illegal telemarketing call, make a note of the time and date of the call, the number from which it was placed, and the business name and name of the person you spoke with.
Then, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation. The Federal Trade Commission has stopped billions, yes billions, of robocalls in the last two years. Agruss Law Firm, LLC will aggressively enforce the law to stop robocalls. We will help you stop the calls, and you may be entitled to money damages, too. Damages in TCPA cases range from $500.00 – $1,500.00 per call or text. Contact us today for a free consultation.