Every day, millions of Americans are hit by unsolicited prerecorded calls offering them all kinds of products from insurance to home alarm systems. Despite the protection provided by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), robocalls are actually increasing in number. This is because they are highly profitable, and the legal protections put in place to prevent them are not being adequately enforced.
Why Am I Receiving Robocalls?
According to a survey done by the global news website Insider in February 2021, roughly 46% of Americans report receiving at least one robocall every day, while a further 24% say that they receive these calls multiple times in a week. This is even though the TCPA prohibits unsolicited sales calls. The people behind these calls have a vested interest in pushing their campaign to annoy millions of Americans. The calls are very cheap to make and can yield comparatively massive returns when they generate qualified leads. The profit margins are very attractive, and the federal government has done little to deter robocall operations from pursuing them. Certain technological loopholes are also aiding this industry, with Caller ID and other features doing little to help consumers screen out what are, for the most part, untraceable calls. Not all robocalls are from scammers; some are from legitimate companies that have recognized the cost-saving, lead-building ability of this type of telemarketing. Either way, the perpetrators of the calls can make enormous profits, while consumers have to deal with the irritation. In some cases, where actual criminals are behind the calls, annoyance is the least of the consumers’ worries.
Am I protected against robocalls?
The court system has not been helpful in protecting American consumers against robocallers. Recent federal court cases, while not necessarily ruling in favor of telemarketers, have not supported consumers either. These court decisions contend that causing an annoyance is not sufficient grounds for a lawsuit; the plaintiff would have to have sustained real damage or injury. Since most consumers who receive telemarketing calls do not suffer any financial loss or other damage, they have no firm grounds to pursue legal action. The Spokeo case, concluded in 2016, was the major precedent setter in this regard.
What measures can be taken?
Despite the less than positive response from the courts and law enforcement, consumers can still take action to protect themselves. Thanks to the TCPA, the law is still on your side, and a well-constructed case – especially class actions with sufficient numbers behind the complaints can still gain compensation for aggrieved consumers.
If you are frequently targeted by spam callers, you should do the following:
- Don’t delete your Caller ID.
- Keep all voice and text messages.
- Make a written record of the calls you receive, including dates, times, the caller’s identity (whatever is provided), and a summary of the call’s content.
With the information you gather in this way, you can approach a TCPA lawyer about the possibility of filing a telemarketing lawsuit.
Can I take legal recourse for TCPA violations?
There are at least three legal actions that can be taken against those who violate the TCPA:
- Individuals can sue for damages against the company(ies) that make unauthorized calls to them.
- States can pursue civil action against such companies, assuming that enough citizens complain.
- Transgressors can be penalized through complaints filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
If you are a continuous target for robocalls, bring your complaint and the relevant information to the TCPA lawyers at Shamis & Gentile. Book a free consultation today.