Consumers with 917 area-code phone numbers were bombarded with over 27.5 million Robocalls in the month of July 2016, according to a private company that tracks telemarketing, debt collection, and other Robocall activity nationwide.
The statistic – which made New York City the fifth most Robocalled city in the nation last month – accentuates what a challenging nuisance Robocalls pose to many average citizens.
A Robocall is any call made by an auto-dialing machine or program – in other words, any call made without a human finger actually dialing the number – and the recently released statistics demonstrate that their use is on the rise.
The statistics were compiled by YouMail, a California-based developer of visual voicemail and Robocall blocking software. YouMail estimates that, by the end of 2016, over 30 Billion Robocalls will have been made to phone numbers in the United States.
It is becoming increasingly important that consumers are aware of their rights in this area in order to stop harassment and abuse. Luckily, consumer protection attorneys are increasingly cracking down on abusers of this solicitation and debt collection tactic.
Consumer Law attorney Brian Bromberg of New York City, who represents average citizens in these cases
, said, “It is against the law for a company or entity to call your cell phone using an auto-dialer. Whether the calls are from a debt collector or telemarketer, and whether they are abusive or not, is immaterial. If the calls were generated by an auto-dialer – and you have not given your express consent to receive those calls – they are illegal and you may be entitled to compensation.”
As a result of this ongoing nuisance, there have been recent pushes by legislators – working with phone companies – to prevent these annoying calls from getting through. Any solution, however, will likely not arrive overnight and in the meantime, litigation is the strongest tool for protecting the public. To discourage the practice, penalties for an illegal Robocall can be up to $1,500 per call.
Mr. Bromberg highlighted the importance of keeping good records if you are receiving Robocalls and plan on bringing a lawsuit to halt the harassment.
“While we can get the relevant records from the offending company during a lawsuit, every little bit of information helps,” Bromberg said. “First thing you can do is contact your service provider and get your own phone records. Second, you can make a list detailing the time, date, and number that has called you. Don’t forget that missed calls count as well. Accounting for every call is the best way we can maximize your recovery.”
Because many people don’t realize there is a remedy available to them, they may just get used to ignoring or hanging up on the constant calls. However, if you receive an illegal Robocall to your cell phone, you could be entitled to an award of between $500 and $1,500 per call. “These companies are breaking the law and many of them are getting away with it,” Bromberg said. “As more lawsuits are brought against these offenders, they will start to feel it in their pocket books and hopefully that will lead them to change their behavior.”
If you are receiving Robocalls to your cell phone please call the Bromberg Law Office at 212-248-7906