Chicago Telemarketing Abuse Lawyers
Protecting You from Unwanted Calls, Texts, & Faxes
At Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, LLC, we have filed numerous cases complaining of TCPA violations on behalf of clients. Because our sole focus is on protecting the rights of consumers, we are highly experienced in dealing with the TCPA and all of the related laws.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 and other related laws regulate unwanted junk faxes, robocalls, text messages, and other telemarketing calls. These laws make it illegal for advertisers to contact potential consumers without their consent.
Harassing Phone Calls & Robocalls
The use of robocalls − any call placed using an automatic dialer or which contains an artificial or prerecorded voice − is strictly regulated by the TCPA and state laws. Robocalls to cell phones are generally illegal unless the called party has consented to the call by providing the number as contact information. The prohibition extends to all robocalls to cell phones, including telemarketing and collection calls – even if the consumer was not charged for the call.
The Federal Communications Commission has determined that consumers who provide their cell phone numbers to businesses as contact information expressly consent to the use of robocalls, either by that business or its collection agent. However, businesses that “capture” incoming numbers or obtain them through skip-tracing, third-party contacts, or in connection with a different transaction cannot robocall them.
The Laws Against Robocalls
The law also regulates robocalls to landline phones. Under 2012 amendments to the FCC regulations, all telemarketing robocalls are prohibited unless the consumer has given express written consent. A consumer cannot be required to agree to receive robocalls in order to purchase a good or service. The consumers must be clearly and conspicuously informed that if they consent, they will receive future calls that deliver prerecorded messages by or on behalf of a specific seller.
The 2012 FCC regulations require that all robocalls include an interactive opt-out mechanism at the beginning of the message and that when a consumer chooses to opt-out, the number must be added to the caller’s do-not-call list and the call must be immediately disconnected.
When making calls, a telemarketer must state:
- Their name
- The name of the business on behalf of which the call is being made
- The telephone numbers or addresses of that business
The telemarketing restrictions for landlines do not apply to debt collection calls, calls made to a wireless customer by his or her own carrier if no charge is made, calls made for political purposes, calls by or on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit organizations, and informational messages such as school closings. However, these kinds of calls made to cell phones are subject to the separate restrictions on calls to cell phones.
The FCC and the Federal Trade Commission have created a national Do-Not-Call Registry. A consumer can register residential landline and cell phone numbers with the National Do-Not-Call Registry; telemarketers then have 31 days to remove the consumer from their call sheets.
A consumer also can make a do-not-call request directly to the telemarketer. The telemarketer must comply for five years, after which the request has to be repeated.
Tax-exempt non-profit organizations, political campaigns, and healthcare-related calls covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are not covered.
Your Rights Regarding Harassing Calls
There are statutory damages of $500 per violation of the fax and robocall restrictions. Damages may be increased to $1500 for a willful violation. Injunctive relief is also authorized.
There is a different private right of action for do-not-call violations. A person who has received more than one telephone call within any 12-month period by or on behalf of the same entity in violation of the regulations prescribed by the FCC may bring suit for actual damages or up to $500 in damages for each such violation. Under this provision, a consumer cannot recover for the first call violation. For subsequent calls, damages are awarded on a per-call basis. Generally, a suit may be brought for up to four years after the violation.
If you receive an illegal telemarketing call, be sure to note the:
- Date and time of the call
- Phone number from which the call was placed
- Business name and the person to whom you spoke
You do not have to put up with robocalling abuse. Our experienced Chicago consumer protection attorneys can advise you of your options.
Stopping Junk Faxes
To violate the TCPA, a fax must be unsolicited and must advertise the commercial availability or quality of property, goods, or services. Therefore, a fax inviting recipients to attend a political fundraiser is not covered by the TCPA.
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit related to a junk fax is four years. The most important piece of evidence in a junk fax case is the fax itself. Keep the document together with any log of incoming faxes generated by your fax machine. If you call the “remove” or “contact” number, keep notes with the date and time of the conversation to assist in identifying the sender.
The TCPA allows private lawsuits by persons who received unwanted faxes and authorizes recovery of up to $500 per violation, or $1500 if the violation was willful or knowing. Our Chicago telemarketing abuse attorneys can help you understand what the potential outcomes are in your specific situation.
Spam Text Messages
The increasing popularity of text messaging in recent years has made many aspects of communication more convenient. However, many people receive unwanted spam texts from various companies soliciting customers. These texts are annoying and – depending on the receiver’s wireless plan – can cost money. Be careful about giving your cell phone number on contest entry forms or other promotions, as the fine print may say you are consenting to text messages and calls.
Put a Stop to Telemarketing Abuse. Call Today!
You should know that spam texting is outlawed in the U.S. As of June 2012, companies cannot text message a consumer unless the consumer has given express written consent to receive the texts. At Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, LLC our entire practice is devoted to protecting consumer rights. With over 200 years of combined experience, we help consumers recover compensation when they receive unwanted texts.