Personal Injury MN Johnston Martineau

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects everyone from unwanted phone calls to your cell phone with an auto dialer (robocalls), prerecorded voices/voice messages, as well as text messages.  This applies whether you are called or texted because of a business relationship, marketing, or just plain spam.  You want the calls to stop and you have rights.

The TCPA was enacted by Congress in an effort to address a growing number of telephone marketing calls and certain telemarketing practices Congress found to be an invasion of consumer privacy.  In 2008, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made it clear that this law not only applied to telemarketers, but to any caller using an autodialer or prerecorded voice/voice messages to a cell phone (wireless telephone).

Regardless of the reason you are called with an auto dialer, pre-recorded voice/voice message, or sent a text message using this system, the caller/business is bound by the rules of the TCPA.  The TCPA also has restrictions for unsolicited faxes and calls to land lines, but cell phones are the clearest example under this law.

As a result, with some exceptions, unwanted calls to your cell phone with an auto dialer (robocalls), prerecorded voice/voice message, or text message sent via an auto dialer, the TCPA applies regardless of the reason.  The only way a caller/business has not violated this law is if you were called with prior consent.

If the caller/business has violated the law by calling your cell phone without consent, you can bring a claim to stop unwanted future calls (an injunction), as well as recover money for past violations of your rights to privacy.  Damages range from $500 per call, up to $1,500 per call if the caller/business knows, or does not care, that they do not have your permission to call your cell phone.

Remember, this law applies to everyone.  It applies to banks like JP Morgan Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo, businesses like Target and Best Buy, professional sports franchises like the L.A. Lakers and San Diego Charges, automakers like Toyota, debt collectors and debt buyers like Portfolio Recovery Associates and Midland Credit Management, Inc., pizza chains like Papa Johns, cell phone companies like Verizon and T-Mobile, small business like garbage companies, credit card companies like HSBC Bank and Bank of America, security companies, restaurants, medical providers, internet and cable providers, everyone.  The only way these businesses can make unwanted calls your cell phone with an auto dialer, pre-recorded voice/voice message, or using text messages is if you give them consent to do so.  This is simple if you have never had a relationship with a business.  When there is a relationship, read the fine print.  You likely gave consent when filling out a form online, at the office, or texting START to a short code.  Still, since you can give consent, you can take (revoke) it away as well.  After all, the calls are no less unwanted and annoying.  You just need to make it clear you no longer want the calls to your cell phone.

Evidence is key when enforcing your rights under the TCPA.  First, if you received an unwanted call to your cell phone with an auto dialer, prerecorded voice/voice message, or text messages, you should start a call log and take screenshots of the call and text logs as they are the most important piece of evidence you can save.  Do not rely on the cellular telephone companies to document your calls since most companies will not give you a list of calls to your cellular telephone willingly and delete text messages relatively quickly after removed from your cell phone.

If you verbally told the caller/business to stop calling your cell phone, then document the date, time, phone number, and whom you told.  Our preferred method of revoking consent is a writing, such as a fax, since you get proof of the business’ receipt of your request to stop calling you.  Verbal revocation is ok, but you will need to clearly express your demand to stop getting calls to your cell phone; thereafter documenting how the business responded to your demands, including the date, time, who you spoke to, and what each of you said to each other.

If you text STOP and continue to receive text messages, it is important to save each and every text message received after the confirmation text via screen shots or pictures.  This allows us to compare the business’ records with your records to see if data is complete during the litigation process.  It further provides you proof that you opted out with the business and the business’ disregard of your requests to do so.

If you are called with a prerecorded voice, voice message, or auto dialer and you hit the opt-out button, document the date and time, the telephone number used to call your cell phone, as well as anything you were told in the recording when you tried to opt out.  Take pictures of your caller id on the telephone to document each and every call made to your phone by this prerecorded voice message or auto dialer.

Regarding any voicemails left by a caller, especially pre-recorded voice messages, keep and back them all up on a separate device if possible.  This is great evidence to support the type of system the business used to call you with.

Last, keep copies of each and every communication you have had with the businesses. Remember, if the caller continued to call you with an auto dialer, prerecorded voice/voice message, or sends text messages after you demanded he/she stop or opted out, your damages may increase from $500 to $1,500 per call.

If you want to stop unwanted phone calls to your cell phone, and have been called by an auto dialer (robocalls), prerecorded voice/voice messages, or spam texted after you opted out, call us today for your free consultation.  Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you.

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