The Telephone Consumer Protection Act affords you a number of rights when it comes to telemarketing calls and debt collection robocalls. If you receive a robocall at home or on your cell phone, do the following to protect your rights:
- If you receive a telemarketing call, ask to be placed on their do-not-call list. Keep a list of businesses that you have directly told to stop calling you. Note the date and time of the call, as well as the business name and the person to whom you spoke.
- Note the day you signed up for the National Do-Not-Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov), and remember that telemarketers have 31 days to remove you from their call lists.
- If you receive a “robocall” at home or on your cell phone, do the following:
- Jot down any information contained in the automated or prerecorded message; the rules say that the beginning of the prerecorded message must include the identity of the business that is calling, and that during or at the end of the robocall, the business must provide a phone number you can call to be placed on their do-not-call list (and it can’t be a 900 number); new FCC rules (to be enacted in mid-2012) say that there must be an interactive mechanism to opt-out during the call
- Write down the date and time of the call and (if you have caller ID) the originating phone number
- Listen to the message and see if there is an option to speak to a live person. If so, ask the live person their name and the name of the company on whose behalf they are calling; write down that information
- Ask to be placed on their do-not-call list, or use the interactive mechanism to opt-out during the call
- After hanging up, check your phone line in 10 seconds to see if you have dial tone; the rules state that autodialed robocalls must disconnect from your phone line within five seconds of receiving a signal that you have hung up
- If you receive a prerecorded call or voicemail (a robocall) from a debt collection agency on your cell phone, note the date and time of the call and save the voicemail; never give your oral or written consent to a debt collector to call your cell phone
- If you receive a telemarketing call or a prerecorded call from a debt collection agency and you have caller ID, check that your caller ID displays an actual phone number and company name for the caller; if your caller ID says “Unavailable,” “Out of Area,” or “Private,” it is a violation of the TCPA – even if you have not placed your name on a do-not-call list
- If a company has violated the rules, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (http://www.fcc.gov/complaints)
- Contact a consumer law attorney. You may be able to sue the business or debt collection agency in court, and be awarded actual damages or $500 per violation – and triple that amount if your attorney can prove that the caller willfully and knowingly violated the law
If you have been the victim of harassment or illegal or unfair debt collection practices, contact the Fair Debt Attorneys at Lemberg & Associates immediately to discuss your options and protect your rights. When you owe creditors money, you are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as other federal and state laws. If a debt collector has violated your rights, you may be entitled to up to $1000 in damages, and they may even have to pay your attorney fees. Sergei Lemberg, and the attorneys at Lemberg & Associates have helped countless people to assert their legal rights with debt collectors. Don't be intimidated by illegal debt collection practices. For more information, contact Lemberg & Associates today at .