What to Do About Those Annoying Telemarketing Calls and Texts
Good News! A federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Action (“TCPA”) outlaws certain calls made without your prior consent. The TCPA and the governing regulations set out details regarding which calls are unlawful. The TCPA also allows a consumer to recover damage of between $500 and $1,500 for each illegal call or text.
Here are some general guidelines to help you tell whether calls you are receiving are illegal.
To read more about these rules, see our TCPA primer.
What Everyone Should Know about Telemarketing Calls
Telemarketing Calls Made to Your Cell Phone are ILLEGAL if:
- You did not give your prior consent to receive the call IN WRITING* AND one of the following two situations is true:
- The call was made using a pre-recorded message or artificial voice OR
- The call was made using any type of automated dialing system; AND
Telemarketing Calls Made to Your Land Line are ILLEGAL if:
- The call was made using a pre-recorded message or artificial voice AND
- You did not give your prior consent to receive the call IN WRITING*.
What Everyone Should Know about Telemarketing Texts
- Automated Telemarketing Texts are ILLEGAL If You Did Not Give Your Prior Consent IN WRITING* to Receive the Text.
- In these three cases “Written Consent” means a writing which unambiguously that the consumer consents and agrees to receive calls or texts, as the case may be.
- Simply leaving providing your phone number is not to “written consent.”
- “Written Consent” may be provided electronically, as long as the electronic record shows a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure of the fact that future automated calls will be made;
- Consent to receive telemarketing calls cannot be tied to a purchase.
- A debt collector cannot call your cell number without your consent. For more information about rules of debt collection please click here.
- No telemarketing or debt collection calls may be made before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Telemarketers are required by law to respect your request not to be called again and to keep a record of consumers who have requested not to be contacted.
- Even if you have given your consent to be called in the past, that consent can be REVOKED at any time.
What to do
Sign up for the National Do-Not-Call Registry:
- You can register any cell or land line on the national do not call list by calling (from the phone you wish to register) 1-888-382-1222. Or, you may place your numbers on the through the FTC’s website: FTC.gov/donotcall.
- The registry prohibits calls to registered numbers from telemarketers any call related to the offer or sale of a good or service. The registry DOES NOT prohibit calls from political campaigns, charities or telephone surveyors.
Sign up for Company Specific Do Not Call Registries:
- Every telemarketing company is required to maintain a list of consumers who have requested not to be contacted by that company. Telemarketers are required to respond back to that request and any call to a number listed on the company’s do-not-call list is a violation of federal law.
Protect Your Rights
Any person who has received an illegal call or text may sue to stop the calls and to collect civil fines of between $500 and $1500 per call.
Contact a consumer lawyer in your area will he you have been a victim of illegal telemarketing.