There are lots of new apps for blocking and screening phone calls. Most of this stems from automatic dialing- allowing businesses to call you several times a day, every single day. We carry our cell phone with us all day, thus these calls can be very intrusive and disruptive. But, you don’t need a new app- you can simply enforce your rights and stop businesses from illegally auto-dialing your phone.
TCPA: Get paid for enforcing your rights
There is a federal law that protects you and allows you to recover money for each illegal phone call. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) makes it illegal to call someone’s cell phone using an automated system unless the caller has your consent. Therefore, nobody should be robo-dialing your phone without consent. If you never provided your cell phone number -they don’t have consent. Once you say “stop calling” – they no longer have consent. The FTC cannot monitor the millions of phone calls that take place everyday- therefore, they created a private enforcement mechanism to deter businesses from auto-dialing your phone without consent. Violations carry statutory damages of $500 for each and every call and up to $1500 per call in some cases.
Constant phone calls
Many auto-dialed calls today are made by financial companies to collect payments. For example, if you miss a payment on your credit card, you will likely start receiving phone calls or recorded voice messages as a reminder. That may be fine, but once you start receiving a few calls per day, it quickly becomes very annoying and disruptive. Even more frustrating is when they are calling for someone else, that is, a wrong number that rings everyday.
Stopping phone calls
Some banks have become very aggressive with their phone calls. For example, people have complained of Credit One Bank calling 10 or more times each day. If you’re currently getting calls from a bank or anyone else, just say “please stop calling.” If calls continue, keep good records. If you wish, you can record the phone call, though be aware that you should obtain consent from the other party before recording any conversations. Some states make it illegal to record a phone call without consent.
What about calls for late payments/debt?
You still have rights and can sue for violations of the TCPA. Some people are receiving constant phone calls because the bank/creditor is calling the wrong number. Other times, the customer owes money and the bank is calling because of late payments. Even if you are late or unable to pay the debt, you can still stop the harassing phone calls. The federal act was created to stop ALL unwanted auto-dialed phone calls. Therefore, you can still control who auto-dials your cellphone and can recover for damages against the creditor for violations.
How do you know if the business is using an autodialer?
It may be difficult to tell on your end. You may hear a click or a delay before talking with a representative, or it may be obvious if the bank is using a recorded or artificial voice message. Today, with the technology available, it may be impossible to know without learning more information. Most businesses are using an auto-dialer to get in touch with customers. It saves a huge amount of time. If you are receiving calls from a business everydayit is likely an auto-dialer is being used to make the phone call.
If you are one of the millions of people wrongfully receiving phone calls, or a few hundred phone calls, please let us know. The more people that take action, and say “stop calling”, the quicker banks will change their practices and put a stop to these illegal calls. Enforce your rights.
We can only people in South Carolina or Minnesota.