Telemarketer harassment

WHAT IS TELEMARKETER HARASSMENT?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires telemarketers to obey specific rules and restrictions when contacting consumers, and even forbid some types of solicitations. However, these calls often still violate the law and disrupt daily life.


WHEN IS A CALL CONSIDERED ILLEGAL?

While telemarketers are still allowed to make some calls, legal contact with consumers is limited. The TCPA prohibits pre-recorded messages, automated telephone number dialing equipment known as robo-calls, and messages sent to wireless phones, fax machines, and voice messaging systems. Harassment of consumers is also forbidden. Telemarketers must not contact consumers who have not consented to receive the call. They must not call those that have registered on a “Do Not Call” list. They must provide their name and the reason for calling. Calls cannot be made before 8 AM or after 9 PM.

The guidelines vary slightly for landlines and cell phones.

Landlines:

  • Prerecorded calls are illegal and prohibited without prior written consent
  • Prerecorded non-telemarketing calls are legal
  • Autodialed telemarketing calls are legal
  • Autodialed non-telemarketing calls are legal

If a consumer is listed on the “do not call list” and receives two or more telemarketing calls, autodialed or prerecorded, the calls are illegal.

Cell Phones:

  • Prerecorded calls are illegal and prohibited without prior written consent
  • Prerecorded non-telemarketing calls are illegal
  • Autodialed telemarketing calls are illegal
  • Autodialed non-telemarketing calls are illegal

Consumers should note that providing their cell phone number to a telemarketer for any purpose is deemed consent.

Unsolicited faxes are also prohibited by the TCPA. Advertising faxes muse have a detailed, explicit “opt out” notice at the bottom of the first page.

Some communication is not prohibited by the TCPA. This includes:

  • Political calls
  • Commercial calls for non-marketing purposes
  • Certain calls from debt collectors that are made to landlines
  • Calls from tax-exempt, nonprofit entities
  • Calls for loan servicing businesses
  • Notices and alerts from airlines, banks and credit card companies, schools and universities, package delivery, and wireless carriers

Solicitors, auto-dialers, debt collectors, creditors and marketing companies must all follow these rules. If they are not, consumers can file a complaint, and may even receive compensation.

HOW WE CAN HELP

If you have been getting pre-recorded calls or auto-dialed calls from telemarketers, our attorneys can help you take legal action. We can also help in the case of spam texts and facsimiles, or when dealing with violations by collectors, creditors, or other solicitors.

Our attorneys at COHEN & MIZRAHI LLP will help put an end to the calls themselves, and may even be able to help you acquire compensation. If you are a victim of harassment under the TCPA, you are entitled to sue for each violation, and receive $500 per call, fax, or text. The fine may be increased to $1,500 if the contact in question was a willful violation on the solicitor’s part.

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