Getting Unwanted Calls? Know the Rules

On August 4, 2016, the FCC ruled that automated calls and text messages from educational institutions and utilities do not fall under the restrictions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Congress passed initial TCPA legislation back in 1991, and the federal agency has been refining the law ever since. The law limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or pre-recorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines. The law also requires the caller to be identified in the message. Get familiar with the law to learn how you can stop unwanted calls and texts.

Robocalls Require Permission

Telemarketers must get your permission before they contact you on your cell phone. A mere business relationship with you does not mean consent to contact you on your cellphone.

As noted in the recent declaratory ruling, the restriction doesn’t apply to urgent calls or texts, like emergency calls or verifications.

You Can Revoke Your Consent

You have the right to revoke any permission that you previously gave. The caller can’t require an extensive process either, like asking you to mail in a form to be removed from their contact list.

Callers Must Update Wrong Numbers

Telemarketers have resources that help them see when a consumer’s cell phone number changes. They are allowed to call a wrong number one time before they update their list.

Take Action

If you receive auto dialed calls to your cell phone that you never consented to, or you continue to receive calls on your cell phone after requesting they stop, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the caller. The TCPA permits consumers to recover $500 – $1500 for each call placed to the consumer after they’ve been told to stop.

Contact a consumer protection attorney, or unwanted calls lawyer, to discuss your options.