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When Are Robocalls Illegal?

unknown caller on phone screen

If you have a cell or landline phone, chances are slim that you can avoid pre-recorded calls. The frustrating reality is that technology is making it easier and cheaper for businesses and scammers to reach large swaths of the population. An independent study by Robokiller estimates that Americans receive more than 1.4 billion robocalls per week. However, consumers have decades-old legislation to protect themselves from unlawful contact. This article discusses what you need to know about your rights.

Your Rights

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is vital legislation protecting consumers from abusive and fraudulent communications practices. The law outlines strict guidelines on how and when businesses can communicate with current or potential clients.

Initially enacted in 1991, the TCPA established rules for solicitors calling a residence and the penalties for violating those rules.

In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the Do Not Call Registry, allowing consumers to opt out of all telemarketing calls preemptively.

But how we communicate is constantly evolving. Today, lawmakers must contend with pre-recorded messages, automatic dialers, texts, and more. Keeping up with all the ways telemarketers and scammers can reach consumers is difficult, but their compliance with the law is imperative.

So, how do you know when your rights are violated?

Prior Express Written Consent

In 2012, the FCC revised the TCPA to require prior express written consent (PEWC) for all autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls. Known more familiarly as “robocalls,” Congress found that prerecorded messages are a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls.

A consumer must provide explicit written consent to receive marketing calls and texts to their number. The agreement must bear the consumer’s signature and disclose that the person authorizes a seller to send automated messages to the specified number. Otherwise, a solicitor violates the TCPA.

The “signature” that these agreements require is flexible under the E-SIGN Act, which allows consent to be obtained via email, web forms, texts, telephone keypress, or voice recording.

The penalty for violating the TCPA ranges from $500-$1500 per violation, depending on the circumstances.

Representation for Illegal Robocalls

Robocalls are an unwelcome annoyance that we feel powerless to stop. However, you may be eligible for damages if you receive telemarketing calls, texts, or faxes to which you did not consent. Contact our office today at (919) 526-0450 for more information about your rights. You may also submit a confidential inquiry to our contact page. Our intake team will assess your information and determine whether an attorney can help. We may ask that you send us documentation pertinent to your potential case as part of this assessment.