The TCPA, or Telephone Consumer Protection Act, makes it illegal for anyone to call or text you using automated systems without your permission. It also forbids calls using prerecorded or synthetic voices without your explicit consent. This means debt collectors, telemarketers, and salespeople cannot send unwanted robocalls or automated texts to you, except in certain cases. TCPA lawsuits occur when companies continue to send harassing calls or texts despite requests to stop.
Moreover, telemarketers are breaking the law if they call or text your cell phone or landline when your number is on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
The TCPA provides a way for people to receive compensation for unsolicited calls and texts. Through TCPA class action lawsuits, consumers can sue for robocalls or robotexts and potentially receive between $500 and $1,500 for each call or text. Additionally, the TCPA allows consumers to take legal action against telemarketers who ignore the national do-not-call list and collect $500 per call, starting from the second call onwards.
TCPA Violations: 5 Types Explained
- Automated Calls or Texts: It's illegal for companies to use automated systems to call or text your cell phone or landline without your consent. Exceptions include cases where you've given prior permission or have an established business relationship. Penalties range from $500 to $1,500 per call or text.
- Use of a Prerecorded or Robotic Voice: Companies cannot use mechanical or prerecorded voices for unsolicited calls or voicemails. This prevents them from making countless calls without human limitations. Violators can face penalties of $500 to $1,500 for each call or voicemail.
- National Do-Not-Call List: You can add your phone number to the National Do-Not-Call Registry, which prohibits unsolicited calls from telemarketers. Debt collectors are an exception. Companies must update their Do-Not-Call Lists every 31 days and avoid calling listed numbers. Violators can be fined $500 per call, starting from the second call.
- Internal Do-Not-Call Lists: Companies must maintain an internal list of consumers who have requested not to be called. If they continue calling after a “stop calling” request, each call can be considered a violation, subject to penalties of $500 to $1,500. However, the company has a 30-day grace period to comply.
- Wrong Numbers: If a company keeps calling you because your number used to belong to one of their customers, you may be entitled to sue for a TCPA violation. Companies should have processes in place to avoid calling reassigned numbers.
Exceptions to the TCPA:
Some organizations, such as those with established business relationships, charitable organizations, and political campaigns, have certain allowances for making automated calls. However, there are limitations and restrictions even for these exceptions.
There are 10 exemptions that I have found:
Those exemptions are: (1) Non-commercial calls to a residence; (2) commercial calls to a residence that do not constitute telemarketing; (3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization calls to a residence; (4) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)-related calls to a residence; (5) package delivery-related calls to a wireless number; (6) financial institution calls to a wireless number; (7) healthcare-related calls to a wireless number; (8) inmate calling service calls to a wireless number; and (9) cellular carrier calls to their own subscribers and (10) political information.
Suing for Robocalls or Spam Texts:
Check out this video on how to use Chat GPT to generate “one click lawsuits” to sue robocallers for up to $1,500 per call.
To take legal action against telemarketers, you may need to hire a lawyer experienced in filing TCPA lawsuits. Alternatively, you can report harassing calls or texts to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Debt Collection Calls:
Debt collectors must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which sets rules for their communication. This includes restrictions on calling outside of waking hours, honoring requests to stop calling, ceasing all communication upon written request, and validating the debt upon consumer request. However, debt collectors are allowed to contact your friends, family, or employer to locate you, as long as they don't disclose the debt.