REGISTERED ON THE NATIONAL DO-NOT-CALL LIST AND STILL RECEIVING TELEMARKETING CALLS?
IT IS ILLEGAL TO FOR TELEMARKETERS TO CALL YOU IF YOUR NUMBER IS REGISTERED
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) consumers have the right to sue telemarketers who ignore the federal mandated Do Not Call list. Each violation by a telemarketer entitles the consumer up to $500 per violation. You must have received two or more calls from the same caller during a 12-month period. Hughes Ellzey, LLP has vast experience in TCPA litigation, and has settled class action lawsuits in excess of $9 million dollars for DNC violations.
- What is the National Do Not Call Registry (DNC Registry)?
The National DNC Registry is a free nationwide database created and managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in response to the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003. The database allows consumers to submit their land or wireless phone numbers to the database via online or by phone which informs unsolicited telemarketers not to contact them.
Registration of a number is permanent and only expires when the number is disconnected or voluntarily removed from the DNC Registry. Registered numbers generally show up on the registry the following day and most unsolicited sales calls will stop 31 days from registration.
The DNC Registry covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, North Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and toll-free numbers.
The FTC defines a telemarketer as someone who makes calls on behalf of a “[a] plan, program, or campaign which is conducted to induce purchases of goods or services, or a charitable contribution, donation, or gift of money or any other thing of value, by use of one or more telephones and which involves more than one interstate telephone call.” 15 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6108
The purpose of the DNC Registry is to reduce the number of unwanted sales calls for individuals only. You may still receive calls if:
- You have a business relationship with the company.
- It is a business –to- business call.
- It is a debt collection call.
- It is a political call made promoting a political party or candidate.
- It is a call made on behalf or by a non-profit organization, unless a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of the charity.
- It is a call made regarding a telephone survey.
- It is an informational message call.
- You have given written permission, however, if you request the company discontinue all calls they must honor your request.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a separate regulation that prohibits telemarketer from calling a wireless phone number with an automated dialing system under almost all circumstances without the consumer’s prior express written consent. Under FCC rules regarding robocalls and robotext:
- Calls and text messages are given the same protection.
- All non-emergency robocalls, both telemarketing and informational and informational, require a consumer’s consent to made to a wireless phone number. Unlike landlines, these calls can include political, polling, and other non-telemarketing robocalls.
- Urgent calls or text specifically for health or fraud alerts may be allowed without prior consent. However, the must be free and consumers can stop them at any time.
- Existing business relationships do not constitute permission to be called or texted.
Under FCC rules, telemarketers are generally prohibited from making robocalls to a landline without the consumer’s consent regarding an existing business relationship. However, they are permitted to make calls in regards to:
- Market research or polling calls.
- Calls on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit groups.
- And some informational messages.
The rules do require all prerecorded calls, including market research or polling calls, to identify the caller at the start of the message and contain a contact phone number. FCC rules also require telemarketers to allow you to opt out of receiving further telemarketing robocalls immediately during a prerecorded telemarketing call through an automated menu. The opt-out mechanism must be announced at the outset of the message and must be available throughout the duration of the call.
- How is the Do Not Call law violated?
The Do Not Call law is violated when a telemarketer contacts a number that has been placed on the DNC Registry or has placed an illegal robocall.
The FTC defines a robocall as a call that uses a recorded message instead of a live person.
The FCC defines a robocall as unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls to landline home telephones, and all autodialed or prerecorded calls or text messages to wireless numbers, emergency numbers, and patient rooms at health care facilities.
- What someone’s rights are who is listed on the national DNC but receives telemarketing calls.
The DNC Registry is enforced by the FTC, FCC, and state officials. But the law does allow individuals to hire a private law firm to sue the telemarketer for money compensation. Each violation may entitle the consumer to recover up to $500 per violation (each call).
The FTC recommends when illegal phone calls are placed by unsolicited telemarketers, the consumer file a complaint with the FTC after a number has been on the registry for 31 days. Complaints can be made via online or by phone. Those who violate the National DNC Registry or place illegal robocalls can be fined up to $40,654 per call. To date, the FTC has sued hundreds of companies and individuals who were responsible for placing unwanted calls and has obtained over a billion dollars in judgments against violators.
The FCC allows complaints to be filed via phone, mail, and online.
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