Has your evening quiet time or dinner been interrupted by a call from a telemarketer? If so, you’re not alone. Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991 in response to consumer concerns about the growing number of unsolicited telemarketing calls to their homes and the increasing use of robo-dialed and prerecorded and artificial voice messages. In response, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules requiring anyone making a telephone solicitation call to your home or your personal cell phone to provide his or her name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity can be contacted. The rules require telemarketers to comply with any do-not-call request you make directly to the caller during a solicitation call. Telemarketers covered by the National Do-Not-Call Registry have up to 31 days from the date that you register your telephone number to remove it from their call lists and stop calling you.
The National Do-Not-Call List
Once you have placed your home phone number or numbers, including any personal cell phone numbers, on the national Do-Not-Call list, telemarketers are prohibited from making telephone solicitations to those number(s). Your number or numbers will remain on the list until you remove them or discontinue service – there is no need to re-register numbers.
A telephone solicitation is a telephone call that acts as an advertisement. The term does not include calls or messages placed with your express prior permission, by or on behalf of a tax-exempt non-profit organization, or from a person or organization with which you have an established business relationship (EBR). An EBR exists if you have made an inquiry, application, purchase or transaction regarding products or services offered by the person or entity involved. You may end to that relationship by telling the person or entity not to place any more solicitation calls to your phone numbers.
You may register your home phone number or ceil phone numbers on the national Do-Not-Call list by phone or by Internet at no cost. To add a phone number to the national Do-Not-Call list via the Internet, go to www.donotcall.gov. Make sure you save the email confirmation that will be sent to you. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register. For more information on the national Do-Not-Call list, visit our website.
DNC – Do Not call damages
Under 47 USC 227 c – there is a separate private right of action for the following violations relating to telemarketing solicitations.
1) Failure to scrub a consumer's number on national DNC prior to calling.
2) Failure to accommodate consumer's request to be added to company specific DNC.
3) Failure to train and monitor employees about existence of Defendant’s company DNC and to enforce the requirement that requests be recorded.
4) Calls made within 10 years of consumer request to place his number on company DNC.
5) Failure to sufficiently identify individual telemarketer name, his or her employer caller and business entity on whose behalf the calls were being made. Or caller ID blocked.
6) Failure to maintain and record a list of telephone numbers the seller or charitable organization may not contact, in compliance with §310.4(b)(1)(iii)(A).
7) Failure to employ a version of the national “do-not-call” registry obtained from the Commission no more than thirty-one (31) days prior to the date any call is made, and maintain records documenting this process.
Each violation has statutory damages of $500.00 and may be increased to $1500.00 if you can show the court the violations were “willfully and knowingly.”
Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems and Artificial or Prerecorded Voice Calls
The FCC has specific rules for automatic telephone dialing systems, also known as “autodialers or robo-dialers.” These devices can be particularly annoying and generate many consumer complaints. The rules regarding automatically dialed and prerecorded calls apply whether or not you have registered your home phone number(s) on the national Do-Not-Call list. It is also unlawful for debt collectors to robo-dial you (whether you owe the debt does not matter) so long as you have not provide the original creditor with your cell phone as part of the application for credit. You may withdraw implied consent at any time by simply telling the collector to stop calling your cell phone.
For any questions on the information above, please feel free to call Rex Anderson at 810-653-3300. Rex Anderson is a consumer attorney, fighting for consumers all over Michigan.