- What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA for short, was enacted by Congress in 1991 to protect individuals from unsolicited telephone calls/texts. It has since been interpreted and expanded by the FCC. It allows an individual to recover $500 to $1500 per call or text made in violation of the statute.
If you’re really interested in reading the statute itself, you can find it at 47 U.S.C. 227, and additional regulations at 47 CFR 64.1200.
- What is the main function of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act aims to protect consumers from unsolicited phone calls, text messages, and faxes. Under the TCPA, consumers have the right to sue individuals, telemarketers, and organizations that violate their rights.
- Who to contact about harassing phone calls?
TCPA attorneys, TCPA lawyers, or a TCPA law firm can help with your claims against your unwanted phone calls lawsuit. At Glapion Law Firm, we are experienced at filing an unwanted phone calls lawsuit and do not call list lawsuits. It is your right to sue for harassing phone calls, and we can help you with the process.
If you’re looking for an experienced Do Not Call attorney, robocall lawyer, or telemarketing attorney to help file a telemarketing calls lawsuit, do-not-call lawsuit, unwanted calls lawsuit, or harassing phone calls lawsuit, Contact Us.
- Does the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Apply to text messages?
Yes, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act applies to text messages, in addition to phone calls and faxes. This means you are protected under the TCPA and have the right to file a phone call harassment lawsuit, regardless of whether the type of contact is via calls, texts, or fax.
- Can I file a lawsuit based on a Do-Not-Call List violation?
Yes, the TCPA allows you to file a Do-Not-Call-List lawsuit for calls made to your telephone number on the Do-Not-Call List. In fact, the Do-Not-Call-List was created by the TCPA. If a company makes two or more telemarketing calls and/or texts in a 12-month period to a number listed on the Do Not Call List, it could face an additional $500 to $1500 per call, potentially in addition to the penalties for making the calls/texts using an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded voice.
It’s important to point out that the Do-Not-Call-List only protects individuals from telemarketing calls and texts. The prohibitions against calls and texts via an autodialer or pre-recorded voice to a cell phone apply to every type of call.
For example, let’s say you receive 20 calls on your cell phone (which is on the do-not-call list) from a company using an automatic telephone dialing system. You never gave this company consent. This company is trying to convince you to buy its magazine. This potentially violates both the prohibitions against calls made using an automatic telephone dialing system ($500-$1500 per call) and the prohibition against making calls to telephone numbers on the “Do-Not-Call” list ($500-$1500 per call). You may be entitled to $1000 to $3000 per call.
Or let’s look at the same example as the above, except the calls are wrong number debt collection calls. These calls likely do not violate the “Do -Not-Call” list, but might violate the prohibitions against using an automatic telephone dialing system.
- What is an “Automatic Telephone Dialing System” and how do I know if the caller/sender is using one?
Simply put, an automatic telephone dialing system is any system that has the capacity to dial numbers without human intervention. For example, a system that can dial from a list of numbers without an operator punching the number in is likely an “automatic telephone dialing system.” Furthermore, even if the system used could not perform such a function at the time, if it is capable of being modified to perform such a function, it might qualify as an automatic telephone dialing system.
There is no foolproof way to know for sure prior to filing a lawsuit and forcing the company to produce documentation on their system. However, there are some telltale signs, such as:
- Unnatural delay from the time you answer or complete your greeting to the time you’re connected to a live representative
- An audible “click” after answering before a live representative comes on the line
- Dead air or “hang up” calls from the same caller
- For text messages, identical or near-identical content or structure from message to message.
- Do I have to tell the company to stop calling or texting me in order to have a claim?
Generally speaking, no, but you should. And when you do, do your best to document when you told them. Dates, times, names of the representatives are all helpful. Be firm. “Stop calling me” is better than “Can you stop calling me?”
For wrong number calls or texts, you are under no obligation to inform the caller that it has the wrong number. However, failure to do so makes it harder to argue for $1500 per call rather than $500 per call.
For debt collection calls or texts meant to collect a debt from you, there is a strong likelihood that the agreement creating the debt gave the debt collector permission to call. While this isn’t always true, it is good practice to ask them to stop calling before contacting an attorney about a TCPA claim. Keep in mind, however, that if you legitimately owe the debt, asking the collector to stop calling does not mean the debt goes away.
For other unsolicited calls/texts, if they are truly unsolicited, you are under no obligation to ask them to stop calling. However, I have seen situations where a client insisted they did not provide consent, but after the defendant produced documents showing consent, they remembered that they had. As such, while it’s not necessary to tell an unsolicited caller or texter to stop calling or texting, it makes life easier to be able to file a lawsuit that says “I did not consent. But even if I did, on January 2, 2015, I told representative John Doe to stop calling me.” This also makes it easier to argue for $1500 per call rather than $500.
- What about those calls from “Rachel from Cardholder Services” or the Microsoft Support Scammers or the calls from” Google Business Listings” or similar?
The thing about these calls is that while many of them do violate the TCPA, most of these companies are either overseas, or take pains to hide their true identity. That’s why they often won’t reveal to you their real company name, or address, or a call back phone number, or a website. Sadly, there’s not a ton that can be done by an attorney in such a situation, because there’s no way to recover if you can’t find who you have to sue. The FCC and FTC are better bets.
Our shorthand is that in order to make a case potentially worthwhile, the company needs to have two of the following:
- A real phone number that you can call back
- A real domain name you can visit
- A verifiable business name
- What does it cost me?
Nothing unless you win. I get paid on a “contingency” basis. Glapion Law Firm takes a percentage of what you recover, as well as our hard costs. However, if you recover nothing, you do not owe us any payment. Put simply, you owe us nothing out of pocket at any point.
- How long does it take?
There is no set time frame. I have had cases settle after a month, and I have seen cases drag on for over a year. A lot depends on the company being sued, their attorneys, and the strength or weaknesses in each side’s case. Federal Courts are also notoriously backlogged — there simply aren’t enough Judges to get through all of their cases in what the typical person would consider “fast.”
Nonetheless, I am always doing my best to maximize the recovery and the efficiency of that recovery for my clients.
- Is this for real?
- Is there a minimum number of calls/texts required before you’ll consider my case?
Yes and no. For economic reasons, I typically do not take cases on an individual basis when there are less than 20 calls or texts from the same company. For example, the recovery range on a 5-call/text case would be $2500-$7500. The time and cost for an attorney to bring such a case typically is not worth it.
However, I do consider such cases as a class action, if those cases lend themselves to class actions. If you’ve received 5 unsolicited calls/texts from a legitimate company looking to sell you a product, odds are that same company is making these calls/texts to thousands or millions of people. A class action would allow you to be the voice of all of those people and hold the company accountable for all of those calls and texts.