The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is an important consumer protection law that helps consumers reclaim a sense of peace and quiet in their own homes. Congress passed the law in 1991 and President George H.W. Bush signed it into law. It strictly limits the use of automatic dialing systems and pre-recorded or artificial voice messages. It has also been amended to apply to text messaging and fax machines. Basically, it protects you from these unwanted communications and gives you a way to force the callers to pay if they keep calling without your express oral or written permission.
Protections Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The law gives consumers a long list of protections, including, but not limited to:
- Solicitors cannot call you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.
- Companies are required to have their own “Do Not Call Lists” to which you can ask to be added.
- Solicitors are required to honor the national “Do Not Call List.”
- Solicitors have to identify themselves and provide a contact phone number.
- Unsolicited advertising faxes are prohibited.
The best part of the law, however, is that you can actually file a lawsuit against the company that breaks these laws, and even if you cannot prove actual financial damages to yourself, you still may be entitled to up to $1,500 for each individual violation of the law. So if, for example, a company sent you fifty unsolicited advertising faxes, you could be entitled to up to $75,000.
Robodialed Calls to Mobile Phones and to Landlines
Robodialed calls are also covered by the law. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the law requires that you give written or oral consent for all robocalls or texts to your cell phone. The same is true of calls to your residential landline phone number. Telemarketers cannot simply rely on an established business relationship with you—there has to be actual consent. Otherwise, robocalls to your cell phone or landline are illegal and may entitle you to up to $1,500 for each violation.
Law Applies to Debt Collectors as Well as Telemarketers
While many of these offensive calls may come from telemarketers, these are not the only calls covered by the law. It is important to understand that debt collection calls are also covered. So if a debt collector is violating the provisions of this law, you may be able to recover against them, regardless of whether the debt is valid. There are some types of calls to landlines that are not covered by the law, though. These include robocalls about things like school closings, or calls for market research.
Call Bromberg Law Office, P.C.
Laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act give you rights, but often you need help to assert those rights. That is why you should call an experienced consumer protection attorney. The Bromberg Law Office can help.
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