Disclaimer: This blog is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and does not create or intend to create an attorney-client relationship. This blog post should never be used to replace the advice of your personal attorney.
Are you fed up with calls from people trying to sell you things? If so, you would do well to read up on the TCPA laws and what it means to consumers. Luckily, the below delves into the details.
Who Enforces The TCPA Law?
It was the United States Congress that passed the TCPA or Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 199. This was a way to address the growing concerns in the increasing amount of unsolicited marketing calls. The TCPA law restricts the use of ATDS, prerecorded messages, and fax machines from sending unsolicited advertisements.
The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, for short, are the ones responsible for implementing and enforcing the TCPA Law. Since its inception, the FCC is accountable for all rulemaking and has implemented regulations that act as a guide for telemarketing companies.
What Does The TCPA Law Cover?
The TCPA law restricts telemarketing companies and debt collectors from using automated dialing and prerecorded voice messages when contacting both mobile phones and landlines.
It also prevents telemarketing calls to consumers who register to the “do not call registry.”
What Is An Autodialer?
An auto dialer, as the name suggests, is a device that automatically dials telephone numbers. Once a call is answered, the autodialer plays a recorded message or connects to a live person.
What Does The Law Class As An Automated And Prerecorded Calls?
The former is anything dialed by a computer; the latter is a prerecorded voice message.
What Is The Function Of TCPA Law?
In short, TCPA Law prevents robocalling. Additionally, it doesn’t allow telemarketers to contact consumers without an established business relationship. Finally, even with an established relationship, a business must provide an “opt-out” option so the called party can ask telemarketers to cease their sales calls. The overall primary function of the TCPA is to stop consumers receiving unwanted calls.
Is The TCPA A Privacy Law?
Yes, and no. The US Supreme Court ruled that if a plaintiff can show unsolicited calls caused tangible or intangible harm to consumers, then the TCPA Law will be brought into action to protect consumers’ privacy.
What Happens If I Go Against TCPA Law?
Going against the TCPA Law can come with fines over $40,000 though they start at $500 per violation. It is not unheard of for settlements to reach tens of millions of dollars when reaching a class action lawsuit level. The best way to avoid this is to prevent violation. The primary violation of the TCPA is:
Unwanted Texts Or Calls
When a business with no prior permission makes a telephone call to a mobile phone using automated or prerecorded messages, this falls under a TCPA Law violation.
When businesses or telemarketing companies contact residential numbers from a pre-set call list, they need to prove a pre-established business relationship.
Calls made to consumers that have put their names on the National Do Not Call Registry are also breaking the law. This violation will leave the business open to class-action lawsuits, leading to the punishments touched on above.
How Can I Remain Compliant With The TCPA?
If a business wishes to remain within TCPA Law compliance, they must stick to these rules and regulations:
- Free for the customer
- Only call numbers that have permission to contact
- No marketing calls. They can’t include telemarketing or advertising to numbers on the Do Not Call List unless you have explicit permission.
- Protected Numbers – Robocalls or text messages should not get used to contact protected phone numbers.
- Debt Collection – Calls and texts for debt collection are not exempt, meaning they need prior express consent—failure to comply can lead to local law enforcement agencies’ involvement.
- Within working hours – A telemarketer can’t contact a residence before 8 AM or after 9 PM.
- Contact details – Telemarketers must provide their name, name of the business, and a phone number or address.
How Are Carriers Dealing With Robocalls?
Many mobile phone carriers and manufacturers are racing to combat robocalls, though they are yet to have a concrete method for doing so. Scams make up a whopping 40% of robocalls, while the other 60 % are legal robocalls used for commercial purposes.
Are Any Organizations Exempt?
In October of 2017, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of a professional fundraiser sued under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act or TCPA Law. To date, this is the second decision made by a federal court in favor of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization.
How Has The COVID 19 Virus And Health Care System Been Affected?
On March 20, 2020, the FTC issued a ruling that pertains to the COVID-19 virus and the TCPA Law exception.
The caller must be from a hospital or a health care facility. The call is not auto dialed to a telephone subscriber and is solely informational.