Telemarketer calls are a nuisance, but companies know the odds are in their favor. Setting up a call center is inexpensive, and if only one out of every hundred or so people fall for their gimmicks, they make a profit. Problems arise when these companies employ practices that are at odds with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). TCPA violations can result in lawsuits in which consumers may be entitled to damages worth thousands of dollars. Knowing the tricks telemarketers use can help you be more aware of when your rights are being violated.
Telemarketing and the TCPA
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.C. § 227) protects consumers against harassing calls from telemarketers using automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) and pre-recorded ‘robocalls’. Under TCPA rules, calls are prohibited to your cell phone or your home phone if its registered on the Do Not Call list without prior signed written consent. Companies that violate the TCPA could end up having to compensate victims in these cases of up to $1,500 per call.
Telemarketers and the companies that employ them are aware of the potential risks and use a variety of methods for obtaining consent. This often includes small print consumers may not notice when making purchases and joining shopping rewards programs and is often granted when signing up for store credit cards.
Telemarketing Tactics to Target Consumers
Putting your name on a do not call list is generally not enough to stop annoying these telemarketing calls. Whether you are speaking with an actual person or receiving automated messages, companies are required to provide you with an opt-out option. Many companies provide their telemarketers with a list of tips to keep consumers talking and taking their calls, and being aware of these tactics could help you deal with these companies more effectively. Watch out for the following, which could violate your rights under the TCPA:
- Calls made out of normal business hours, such as in the early morning, at night, and on weekends;
- Follow up calls, in which a specific telemarketer calls you multiple times over the course of a day;
- Not stating the immediate purpose of the call and using a ‘trojan horse’, such as offering free vacation packages when the actual purpose is to make a sale;
- Telemarketers who misrepresenting themselves as having the authority they do not actually possess.
When facing harassment by telemarketers, it is important to keep a record of the time of the call, the person you spoke with, and the company they represent. Call or contact Keogh Law LTD online right away to request a consultation with a Chicago TCPA attorney to find out if you are entitled to compensation.