You have the power to stop unwanted calls and text messages to your cellphone
The smartphone is a modern miracle. It’s a device that gives you access to an entire universe of information. Chances are you’re using your phone right now.
But although your smartphone means that you can communicate with virtually anyone, it also means that virtually anyone can communicate with you, including telemarketers, banks and debt collectors.
And these unwanted calls or text messages can be annoying, leaving you feeling like you have no way to prevent them.
But that isn’t the case. Read on to learn how you can take action against “robo” callers and protect yourself from unwanted calls.
Aren’t automated calls illegal?While nearly all automated calls to mobile phones are outlawed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, banks, debt collectors and telemarketers still use auto-dialers to contact consumers like you.
It’s a low-cost way of reaching customers to collect debts or sell products and services. And unfortunately, many consumers give these callers permission to contact them without realizing.
It happens when you fill out an application for a loan or credit card. When you provide your phone number on these documents, you’re giving companies permission to call you. And more often, our cellphones, rather than landlines, are the preferred number for us to be reached.
There are legal protections for consumers that receive harassing auto-dialed calls on their cellphone. And the courts have ruled that consumers may revoke consent from receiving “robocalls” by letting the caller know that you want the calls to stop.
The Law: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, also referred to as the TCPA, is a federal law that was signed in 1991 limiting the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or pre-recorded voice messages, text messages and fax machines to reach consumers. Unless the consumer provides permission, the robocalls could be in violation of the law. The law permits consumers to file unwanted call lawsuits and recover $500 to $1,500 for each violating call or text placed to their cell phone after asking the caller to stop.
Also, callers are required to identify themselves and to get permission from consumers to contact them via cellphone. When callers violate the law, the consumer may receive between $500 to $1500 per call or text message.
Your right to revoke consent
If you provided your cellphone on an application, your consent to receive calls on this number is implied. However, you may revoke that consent and get the calls to stop.
In 2013, the federal appeals court sitting in Philadelphia held, for the first time, in Gager v. Dell Financial Services, that consent to receive robocalls from collectors, banks or telemarketers to consumers’ cellphones may be revoked. Flitter Milz represented Ashley Gager against Dell Financial Services in this groundbreaking matter that has impacted consumer privacy nationwide.
How can I stop unwanted calls and texts?
To revoke consent, the consumer must send a letter to the caller and clearly state that the calls must stop. Send your letter by a traceable means, such as certified mail, with a return receipt or FEDEX, so that you have proof the letter was received. Keep a copy of your letter and mailing receipts in a safe place.
If the calls continue, begin keeping a call log to document them. Note the time, date, name of the caller, and the number that appears on your caller ID. Make notes of your conversation and remind the caller that you want the calls to stop. If a message was left, mark it on your log with notes detailing the date, time, and the content of the message.
As well, you should request call records from your cell phone provider that reflect the period when calls were placed to your phone. These records should indicate date and time of incoming calls, along with the number that placed the call.
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Contact us today to discuss your rights.
If you’re a victim of robocalls, the attorneys at Flitter Milz can help. Our lawyers are experts in TCPA law and have helped numerous people from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and across the country, overcome the stress and intimidation of aggressive telemarketers, debt collectors and banks.
Our attorneys know the law and understand how to effectively defend a consumer’s rights for violation of the TCPA in court. Contact us today to talk with an experienced TCPA lawyer and get a free evaluation of the unwanted calls or text messages you’ve received.
Are you a class member in an unwanted calls lawsuit?
If you’ve been identified as a class member in a TCPA class action lawsuit you might want to opt out of the class action and pursue a lawsuit individually. Contact us for a free legal evaluation. We will review the class notice sent to you, discuss the robocalls you’ve received, and evaluate the steps you’ve taken to get the calls to stop.
Can the National Do Not Call Registry get the calls to stop?
The Do Not Call Registry’s purpose is to reduce unwanted calls to your personal phone numbers from telemarketers. The registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and landlines.
To submit a phone number to the registry, call toll free, 888-382-1222. Your call must be placed from the phone number that you want to register. You may only register one number at a time. Follow the prompts to register your number.
To register online, visit the Do Not Call Registry website. You may register up to three phone numbers at a time. Once you’ve followed the prompts, you will receive a confirmation email from the registry.
If you need to file a complaint, visit the send your complaint by mail to:
Attn: Do Not Call Program Manager/ COMPLAINT
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580