Telephone Consumer Protection Act


Telephone Consumer Protection Act

The Law Offices of Steven L. Martin represents consumers in Southern California who are being subjected to unwanted phone and fax solicitations in violation of state and federal law, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was established in 1991 to provide a remedy against unsolicited telemarketing calls and the use of automated and prerecorded messages. Under TCPA rules, telephone solicitors are not allowed to call your home before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night. Also, if you tell the solicitor that you do not want to receive any calls, they must comply with your request. This is the same law which led to the creation of the “do not call” list in 2003 to protect people from receiving telephone solicitations if they did not want them. Now you only have to put your name on one list to stop all telemarketing calls, with certain exceptions.

The TCPA also addresses the use of automatic dialing systems (autodialers) and the use of prerecorded messages. Basically, autodialers may not be sent to any patient in a hospital or health care facility or a resident in a nursing home or home for the elderly. Also, autodialers may not be used to call or text wireless numbers or any service which would result in the receiver being charged with the call. The use of prerecorded messages, whether or not an autodialer is used, is prohibited to any residential line without the prior express consent of the party, subject to some exceptions.

Facts on Faxes

Another way telemarketers may assail you with unsolicited advertisements is through your fax machine. This practice is particularly disturbing because it uses up your paper and expensive ink while tying up your fax line. While fax numbers are not covered in the do-no-call registry (only home voice and personal wireless numbers are), the TCPA does provide rules and regulations that prohibit unsolicited fax advertising to both residential and business fax numbers. As with voice solicitations, a company must stop sending you unsolicited faxes once you have asked them to (opting out), even if they are otherwise permitted under the law (for instance if you have an established business relationship with the sender). These rules apply to individual businesses as well as professional fax broadcasters who engage in “fax blasting” by sending out faxes in bulk to lists of phone numbers.

What Can You Do?

File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) using their online complaint form. In addition, you have the right to sue for damages, including actual monetary losses or $500 in damages, whichever is greater. The damages award can be tripled if it is shown that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated the law. For assistance, contact the Law Offices of Steven L. Martin in Los Angeles.