The phone never rings. But somehow you have a voicemail. It’s a business selling something, even though you’re on the Do Not Call list. Is that legal?
Not in Florida as of July, Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 568, which expands the Do Not Call list to include direct-to-voicemail sales calls.
Ringless voicemail technology, generally speaking, allows callers to bypass calling a person’s cell phone number directly, and instead sends messages through to the voicemail service provider’s platform and, ultimately, to the subscriber. The argument that the defendant posited in this action was that by allowing a voicemail to be delivered without ever having a person’s phone actually ring, such a form of contact could not be considered a call subject to the restrictions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). We have previously advised clients that this argument would not likely be successful before courts or regulators. The federal court in Florida and Michigan agreed. It concluded that because the phone’s subscriber receives a notification that s/he has a voicemail message, the effect of the ringless voicemail is the same as if the phone had rang before the voicemail was delivered. As a result, the Court found that ringless voicemails are calls for TCPA purposes and that the company which placed these messages may be held liable for such conduct.
Florida’s law does not mean you will never receive a ringless voicemail if you are on the Do Not Call list, however. First, some scofflaw telemarketers ignore Do Not Call for all sorts of messages. They are often based in other countries or using fake or “spoofed” numbers, and they know it’s hard to police them in an age of global calling by way of the Internet. At best they are using questionable methods to steer leads to legitimate businesses. At worst they’re outright scams trying to steal money or personal information.
But there’s also this: the law allows certain calls by schools, non-profit and charitable groups, or people taking surveys. Florida law says the Do Not Call restrictions do not apply to “a charitable or political organization that is seeking donations,” according to the Senate staff analysis.
When you report your ringless voicemails to Shamis & Gentile, P.A. our team of ringless voicemail Lawyers will track down the sender of the voicemail and help you recover up to $1,500 if the violation was willful or knowing.
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There are NO fees or expenses, so call today for a free consultation or submit your claim here and we will get in contact with you immediately. We would be happy to review for you, a loved one, a friend, or anyone you suspect may have a case. Report your ringless voicemail today and we’ll see if we can help you recover $500 to $1,500 for ringless voicemail you received.
Ringless voicemail is a mechanism that enables companies to deliver a message to a cell phone without a human delivering the message. Software, such as automated direct voicemail broadcasting mechanisms, are used to deliver these messages to cell phones. The messages are pre-recorded and delivered directly to a voicemail so that the recipient’s phone doesn’t ring or disturb them. Marketers use this as a tool to communicate with clients because it is an affordable way to increase interest in their products and services.
Ringless voicemail drops work by allowing a server to insert a voice message directly onto the consumer’s voicemail. It is seen as a non-intrusive message. The phone may ring, but the call is dropped and the message is left for the consumer, which means that no traditional call is ever made. The reason why ringless voicemail is classified under the TCPA is that of complaints and petitions from people who do not want to receive this type of communication, or because they feel that the communication they received wasn’t relevant to them.
Different states have their own laws regarding ringless voicemail. When people google ringless voicemail law 2018, they usually find information relating to the Florida ringless voicemail law. On 1 July 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill 568, which explicitly sweeps ringless voicemail technology within the state’s law. This new law makes it clear that unsolicited ringless voicemails are forbidden in the state of Florida. The Senate Bill 568 amended the definition of “telephonic sales call” to include “voicemail transmissions”, which are defined as “technologies that deliver a voice message directly to a voicemail application, service, or device”.
Attorney General Maura Healey from Massachusetts, along with a number of others, are joining the fight against ringless voicemail. Companies have asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for an exemption to the robocall rules saying that their voice messages shouldn’t be considered calls. Healey and other Attorneys General said the exemption would give companies a free pass to spam phones.
If you run a call center or business that uses ringless voicemail, you should closely scrutinize your calling practices and technologies to determine whether you are operating within or outside of the law.
If you are being bombarded by marketing messages, then it is good to know how to block ringless voicemail. Preventing robocallers from leaving a voicemail can be tough, but there are a few options.
There are a number of spam blockers that can be downloaded from the Play Store. The biggest problem with these spam blockers is that there is no way to automatically backup your blacklist. If you lose your phone and you haven’t backed up the list in a while (or ever), you will have to start building your blocked list from scratch.
Instead of building your list inside of the ad blocker itself, build it inside your contacts list. Create a contact called ‘blocked numbers’ and continue to add numbers to the list over time. This way, if you lose your phone or your phone breaks, you will still have a list on your sim card that can be used on your new phone or within a new ad blocker.
If you aren’t sure whether the call you received is spam or not, Google the number. Many times, you will find that the number has received a number of complaints. In this case, you can add it to your blocked list.
If you have an iPhone that runs on iOS 8 or higher, you can block it on your phone. Go the Recent Calls tab in the Phone app, tap the “i” icon at the right of the number that you want to block. If the number is in your Contacts list, open that contact’s page in the Contacts app. From the contact page for the caller or contact, scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Block This Caller.
If you have an Android phone, just tap a number in your call log and hit Block/report Spam.