Knowles Law Firm, PC practices in the area of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation. The firm will assist you in a time of need to seek justice and hold the responsible parties accountable.
STANDING UP FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND AGAINST PROFITS OVER PEOPLE
A little known federal law codified at 47 U.S.C. § 227, otherwise known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), was championed by South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings and enacted in 1991 by Congress in response to complaints by consumers regarding telemarketing and debt collection phone calls. An underlying goal of the TCPA is to reduce the nuisance and annoyance calls. However, another underlying goal of the TCPA is the protection of the consumer’s right to privacy, a universally recognized Human Right.
As found within the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) February 2019 report, approximately one half of all calls placed in 2019 will be spam. As of 2018, the FCC noted that approximately 47.8 Billion robocalls which equates on average to 128 Million calls to consumers per day. Another growing trend utilized by telemarketers and/or debt collectors to avoid liability under the TCPA is to engage in “spoof” calling. Spoof calling is the callers manipulation of the appearance of the incoming number to display a local number as the number calling in order to make it more likely that the consumer will answer the call. The telemarketer and/or debt collector typically will utilize a computer program or application to pull an allegedly “unused” phone number and “steal” the identity of that number to mask the true originating number. There is very little doubt that the engaging of spoof calling to avoid liability under the TCPA would rise to the level of knowingly and willfully violating federal law to invade the privacy of consumers.
To report unwanted communications, calls, texts, faxes, you may report the activity to the United States Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.
WHAT IS THE TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (TCPA)?
The TCPA prohibits telemarketers and debt collectors from engaging in the practice of using automatic dialing systems, artificial and prerecorded voice messages, SMS texts, and fax machines. The TCPA prohibits communication without your prior permission to the following:
- Cell Phone
- Residential Landline
- Text Message
An automated call, also known as a “robocall,” is a call initiated by computer software, and a pre-recorded voice message is a recorded human voicemail that the caller utilizes for contacting the consumer.
The following are exempt and not liable for violations of the TCPA:
- Prior Existing Business Relationship/Established Business Relationships (however the communication must be related to the business relationship)
- Charitable Organizations/Non-Profits
- Political Campaigns (except these groups are prohibited from sending texts or autodialed calls without prior consent)
WHAT KINDS OF ORGANIZATIONS MAY VIOLATE THE TCPA?
Consumers may be able to file claims against the following, which include but may not be limited to:
- Debt Collectors
- Credit Card Companies
- Student Loan Companies
- Mortgage Companies
- Vacation or Travel Companies
- Retail Companies
WHAT ARE VIOLATIONS OF THE TCPA?
CALLS AND TEXTS TO CELL PHONES AND RESIDENTIAL LANDLINE
The TCPA prohibits the use of automated calls, pre-recorded messages, and/or text messages to cell phones or automated calls and/or pre-recorded messages to residential landlines. A caller violates the TCPA for each and every call, pre-recorded message, or text message to a consumer’s cell phone, unless the consumer previously gave permission to receive the call or text. In the situation where consent has been previously given to the caller, a consumer can revoke that consent (preferably in writing) by notifying the caller that he/she is withdrawing any implied or express consent to be contacted on his/her cell phone.
CALLS TO PHONE NUMBERS LISTED ON THE DO-NOT-CALL REGISTRY
The TCPA prohibits any solicitations calls to consumers whose phone numbers are registered on the Do-Not-Call List. Consumers can place both their cell phone number(s) and residential landline number(s) on the Do-Not-Call registry.
HOW CAN I PROVE VIOLATIONS OF THE TCPA?
Consumers can document violations of the TCPA by the following:
- gather all of your phone records to identify by highlighting the incoming calls from telemarketers and/or debt collectors
- write down the date and time of the call, the name and phone number of the caller, and a summary of the conversation
- save voicemail from telemarketers and/or debt collectors
- if you have revoked your consent in writing to receive calls from telemarketers and/or debt collectors, retain a copy of the written revocation
WHAT ARE MY POSSIBLE REMEDIES AND RECOVERY UNDER THE TCPA?
Consumers, who receive telemarketing calls, text messages, pre-recorded and/or automated calls to their cell phone and/or residential landline, may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the telemarketer or debt collector for TCPA violations.
Consumers may be eligible to recover the following:
- up to $500 for each violation
- up to $1,500 for each violation, if the consumer can prove that the TCPA was violated knowingly and willfully, such as by violating the Do-Not-Call Registry.
If you or a loved one has received unsolicited telephone calls or text messages to your cell phone or residential landline, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit seeking statutory compensation for your damages.
Knowles Law Firm, PC will advocate for your rights.