Everyone has experienced the inconvenience and frustration of dealing with telemarketers. Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, they keep calling (and seemingly always when you’re sitting down for dinner). What you may not know, however, is that these solicitations may be illegal, and you may be able to make them stop. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) 47 U.S.C. § 227 is a federal statute that protects consumers from unwanted telephone solicitations. The TCPA provides for three primary types of cases: 1. Cell phone solicitations, 2. Residential line solicitations, and 3. Do-Not-Call violations.
Each type of case has specific regulations governing what is and isn’t permitted. Here’s a breakdown of some of TCPA violations per case type:
- Cell Phone Cases
- The TCPA prohibits the use of an “automatic telephone dialing system” or an “artificial or prerecorded voice” for calls to cell phones.
- As long as an auto-dialer or prerecorded voice is used, it doesn’t matter what the content of the call is.
- These regulations cover both business and personal cell phones,
- And also apply to sms text messages and calls to any phone where the recipient pays for the call or text.
- Residential Line Cases
- The TCPA prohibits only the use of “artificial or prerecorded voice” for calls to residential phone lines.
- The content of the call must be a solicitation.
- Calls from debt collectors are exempt from these regulations.
- Do-Not-Call Violations
- Telemarketing to either residential or cell phones on the federal or company specific do-not-call list is strictly prohibited.
- It does not matter if the call is automatic or prerecorded.
- As a consumer, you only have the right to sue if you received two or more telemarketing calls within a 12 month period.
Telemarketing Companies and Solicitors Who Violated the TCPA May Be Liable for the Following Statutory Damages:
- Minimum $500 per violation of auto-dialer or prerecorded violations.
- Up to $500 per violation of the do-not-call list.
- Up to $1500 per violation if the violation is found to be “willful”
- Injunctive relief against future violations
If you believe you are being contacted by an automated solicitation or telemarketer, it's important that you save any and all recordings of these calls (e.g. voicemails, text messages, etc.) You should also keep a journal or record of the date, time, number, and the company responsible for these calls, as well as the content of the call. This evidence will be necessary for a successful claim.
Contact us if you have been receiving unwanted solicitation phone calls. It is important-to seek assistance from an experienced attorney in order to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected. We encourage you to reach out to us today at 804-282-7900 for more information.