Raise your hand if you hate spam or wasting time.

Is your cell phone being inundated by telephone calls or texts from automated messages and telemarketers? In 1991, a law was passed that makes this process illegal. The law is called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. TCPA encompasses a few items including telemarketing, automatic dialers and spam fax. This law implemented in 1991 was amended by the FCC in 2003 that changed the rules to include the national do not call list. Along with making these solicitation calls illegal, the law also states that a commission must continue to update the rules and procedures used are the most effective and efficient available.

An easy way to break down what TCPA is exactly would be that it is against the law for a company to initiate a phone call, text message or fax without that person’s permission through prior express invitation, an existing business relationship, or for a nonprofit organization. These unsolicited contacts do also include calls made to a cell phone or any other carrier service for which you could be charged for the call.

If you are having issues like this, you do have rights. You can even file a lawsuit if a company violates TCPA. The rewards of filing a lawsuit could be small, however the reward or recovery could be any money you lost because of the calls; your actual costs from cell phone providers, etc. or you could receive up to $500 in damages for each violation. If you are able to prove the offender knowingly violated this law, your award could be up to tripled, amounting to $1500 per instance.

Like any other successful consumer fraud case, there is no cost to hire an attorney to take on these cases as the lawyer fees get paid by the defendants and only if you win the case.

There are a lot of terrible laws out there that do nothing at all, but this is a great one because it can actually stop spammers.  One successful lawsuit is usually enough to deter any company from continuing this annoying practice.  And it’s not just scammers who are doing this.  Many legitimate companies have young marketing staffers who simply don’t know what the law is and think that junk calling or texting is a great way to reach people even though they would never want those contacts themselves.

If you have questions about a possible lawsuit or want a referral, please contact us at any time. We are based out of Chicago, but because these are Federal cases, we know lawyers who handle them anywhere in the country.