If you own a phone, then you might be familiar with those pre-recorded messages offering you a chance to win a grand prize or talking about the next big political candidate. These calls are not only annoying, but they can also be illegal. While there are rules regulating what solicitors can and cannot do, there are plenty of entities that violate these rules through their use of robocalls.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a robocall is any phone call that is made through either an automatic telephone dialing system or through the use of pre-recorded voice messages. The content is less important, and can be about anything, with common calls ranging from government officials seeking reelection to general advertisements. As long as the robocalls are made through some automated or pre-recorded process, then they will be subject to the applicable laws.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The controlling law regarding robocalls can be found in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). While the TCPA does not outlaw robocalls, it does place a number of provisions regulating the use of robocalls. For example, if an organization or entity were to use a pre-recorded message to call your place of residence, that entity would be obligated, under the TCPA, to identify who is making the calls, as well as a telephone number or address where the caller can be reached. As long as an entity complies with these rules, it will still be able to direct robocalls to your residence. Fortunately, Congress has also made provisions that allow people to avoid such calls.
Under the TCPA, there is also the national Do-Not-Call Registry, which protects listed persons from the majority of unsolicited robocalls. Registering with the national Do-Not-Call Registry is free, and can be done at the FCC’s website, or by phone. It is important to note that while being listed on this registry will prevent a majority of robocalls from reaching your home, it will not prevent the following calls:
-calls from organizations with which you have established a business relationship
– calls for which you have given prior permission
– calls which are not commercial
– calls by or on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
While these laws explicitly protect residential phone numbers, as well as facsimile transmissions, a larger question arises with regards to cell phones and text messages.
It might not surprise you to know that emergency lines, including law enforcement agencies and health care providers among others, are protected from robocalls under the TCPA. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to set up protections for consumers without providing for those entities that protect and serve the people. The TCPA, however, takes things one step further and provides protections for telephone consumers. Under the TCPA, it is also unlawful for an entity to make a call using a pre-recorded voice or an automatic telephone dialing system to any service to which a person can be charged for the call. This includes pagers, specialized mobile radio services, and most importantly, cellular telephone services.
Call an Attorney
If you are looking for a dedicated attorney that will help you navigate the legal system in order to protect your rights, then contact the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. to make an appointment today.