The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was designed to protect consumers from abusive and offensive telemarketers. Although new regulations have gone into effect to keep up with changing technologies, consumers are still faced with frequent robocalls, pre-recorded voice calls, and texts. People are contacted through their landlines, cell phones, and fax machines without their consent, and often receive numerous, unwanted messages in the same day.
The TCPA targets businesses that use automated phone equipment, and unless a customer consents, solicitors cannot use automated dialing for telemarketing purposes on residential phones, wireless phones, hospital and nursing home patient room phones, or fax machines without the recipient’s consent. Also, it is illegal to leave prerecorded or artificial voice messages without prior consent from the called party, except in certain circumstances.
Types of Telemarketing Calls
Many of these calls are simple or complex scams, and others are from debt collectors and companies that are marketing their products and services. Even though there are regulations in place to stop this, countless ones break them by continuing to call, even when they have been directed to stop.
There are cases when the contact does not have a direct sales pitch, but if the call, text, or fax’s purpose is to solicit sales, it is considered telemarketing. Some companies try to lure in consumers by offering a free prize, but there are usually strings attached, like a future purchase. Others call to offer programs that lower taxes or interest rates, and promote energy services or credit cards. It is important to never share personal information with these callers, especially social security numbers, credit card numbers, and bank accounts.
More Details on TCPA
The TCPA also applies to non-telemarketing calls if the recipient does not give consent. For telemarketing calls to be legal, the recipient must provide their consent in writing, and they may revoke it any time they choose. There are exceptions that apply, such as calls that are made for non-commercial purposes, calls that are only informational, emergency calls, and some automatic-dialer calls to landlines without artificial or recorded voices. This includes calls from a person’s mobile service provider about their service, tax-exempt non-profits, and legitimate calls related to one’s health care, law enforcement, or fire protection.
The Federal Trade Commission’s 2003 National Do Not Call Registry created rules to stop commercial telemarketers from flooding consumers with unsolicited sales calls. At first, it required all businesses to establish do-not-call databases. Although it may work in some cases, telemarketers have found ways around it and consumers continue to receive the unwanted solicitations.
The TCPA allows consumers to sue companies that violate the law by sending telemarketing messages without consent. Victims may be able to recover up to $500 for each illegal call or text; when the violations are willful, penalties may cap off at $1,500 for each illegal contact. Also, the TCPA does not have a stated statute of limitations for acting against a telemarketer.
Philadelphia Consumer Protection Lawyers at the Harty Law Group Protect Consumers Against Telemarketing Calls
Telemarketers can be relentless, and if you feel like your privacy and personal information has been compromised, contact the Philadelphia consumer protection lawyers at the Harty Law Group today. Complete our online form or call us at 267-383-3899 for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.