Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, businesses (debt collectors and banks included) are generally barred from making robocalls to a cell phone without consent. If a business makes robocalls, the recipient can sue the business for up to $1,500.00/call. Yesterday, the FCC issued new rules that are big wins for consumers, although it was a hotly contested issue, split down party lines, involving even Twitter. These new rules make it even harder for telemarketers to annoy people, for debt collectors to harass people, and for any business to interrupt dinner! The rules, which resulted from the fact that unwanted calls are the #1 complaint received by the FCC, provide for the following:
- Phone companies can provide technology that blocks robocalls.
- Consumers can withdraw consent to receive consent to receive robocalls/robotexts at any time in any reasonable way (meaning that there is no need to revoke consent in writing and that consent can be revoked even if already expressly given).
- Companies are now required to stop calling reassigned telephone numbers after a single call. This means that when someone gets a new number that gets dozens of robocalls, one request is all it should take to get the calls to stop.
- The new rules clarify the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system to make clear that it is any machine with a future capacity to dial randomly, sequentially, and/or from a list pre-loaded by a human dialer. Even if a person has to have a part in the process, it is an autodialer if the person is not dialing the entire number.
- Consent must come from the party called, not the intended recipient.
- Text messages are calls.
- Autodialed and/or prerecorded calls and text messages to mobile phones still require prior consent.
Collum & Perry is a lawfirm dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers. If you believe that any company has violated any of the rules above, we will be happy to help. There is no reason you should be harassed, bothered or irritated by businesses who know the laws. Collum & Perry will be happy to discuss your options for ending harassing phone calls.