Every day, consumers across the country are harassed with annoying, unwanted, and disruptive telephone calls that come through their landline (home phone) and cell phones. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was created to stop all unsolicited calls to cell phones and telemarketing calls to landlines on the Do Not Call Registry. For example, calls from companies attempting to sell insurance and other services or products or to offer free vacations or easy access to credit are covered as are survey and debt collection calls to cell phones. If you have received unsolicited calls on your cell phones or telemarketing calls on a landline registered in the DNC from an entity – or more than one – Keogh Law LTD wants to help you.
Understanding the TCPA Law
In general, the TCPA was created by Congress to stop the intrusion of robo calls. Congress empowered the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that consumer’s rights were protected regarding unsolicited telephone calls, prerecorded messages, and texts. The FCC website is extensive, and provides the ability to submit complaints. Yet the FCC rarely enforces private claims or gives specific advice. Here, at Keogh Law LTD, we want to ensure that you understand your rights under the TCPA and not only how to file a complaint to the FCC without any confusion, but to seek additional advice if needed.
What is considered a Telephone Solicitation?
Any robocalls to cellphones are covered, but only telemarketing calls to land lines on the DNC list are covered. If a telephone call seems similar to an advertisement on television or on the internet, it is most likely a solicitation by telephone. If it is annoying or unwanted, there is a good chance that you have received a robocall. It is important, however, to figure out what type of phone call you have received. Sometimes, we receive phone calls from people who say, “I keep getting phone calls from this debt collector and it is annoying!”
We ask the caller, “Did they call your cell phone?”
If the answer to this question is “No,” we continue with the next question, “Did a human being call you?” It is sometimes difficult to figure out whether or not the call actually falls under the TCPA law if the phone call was made by a human being. If a human being calls you, the next part of the equation to determine is whether or not the telephone system that the person used to call you has the ability to make auto-dialed calls.
A telephone solicitation, under TCPA law, includes auto-dialed or computer dialed calls. These calls are usually artificial voice recordings, pre-recorded messages, or text messages to your cell phone. When you answer a call and you hear, “This is an important message for John Doe. Please stay on the line,” you can assume that you have received an unsolicited call under the TCPA. Some pre-recorded messages may tell you to call back a telephone number, while others will say, “Please hold for the next available representative.” Some auto dialers are tricky to determine, but you may hear a clicking noise before a human being voice picks up and speaks to you. Those are robocalls, as well.
However, if you have provided prior consent for the phone calls, they will not fall under TCPA protections unless you revoked that right by telling them to stop calling.
How to File a Complaint with the FCC
Now that you understand exactly what a phone call under the TCPA law entails, you need to know how to file a complaint about these unsolicited calls. The FCC has provided some simple ways to stop these calls, and, if necessary, file a complaint. The first action you can take is to add your phone numbers to the national Do Not Call registry. You could also ask your telephone company if they offer robocall blocking technology approved by the FCC. Alert unsolicited callers that you do not consent to their calls, and record the number that the call came from and the date and time you made the request.
Filing a Complaint
If you have tried the above steps, but you are still receiving robocalls, you can file a complaint on the FCC website. Simply fill in your email address, a description of your complaint, select the issue that best describes your complaint, and provide any attachments, such as screenshots from your phone. It should take 15 minutes or less to fill out the FCC complaint form. Or you can call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) if it is easier for you to file the complaint over the phone.
If you would prefer to file your complaint via mail, use the following address:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554
Contact an Attorney
Filing a complaint with the FCC is crucial to allow the FCC to determine if the TCPA is protecting consumers or whether it needs to be strengthened. Yet, the FCC will not seek the statutory damages you may be entitled to under the TCPA. If you are interested in learning how to protect your rights under TCPA law in Illinois, contact Keogh Law LTD. You may be entitled to recover $500 to $1500 per unsolicited call. Contact or call us today at 866-726-1092.