The TCPA Protects Consumers from Harassing Robo Calls
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (or TCPA for short) protects consumers from receiving certain types of unwanted calls – called robo calls – both on their cell phones and on their land lines.
When it enacted the TCPA, Congress found that unwanted automated calls constituted a “nuisance and an invasion of privacy, regardless of the type of call” and that a ban of such calls was “the only effective means of protecting telephone consumers from this nuisance and privacy invasion.” 42 U.S.C. 227.
The TCPA makes it unlawful for any person (or company) within the United States (or anyone outside the United States if the recipient of the call is within the United States) to call any cell phone using an automatic dialer (aka an ATDS or autodialer) or using an artificial or prerecorded voice, unless the person (or company) has prior express consent to call the cell phone number or if the call is made for emergency purposes. An autodialer is any type of equipment or computer software that can dial a phone number without human interaction.
The TCPA also makes it illegal for any such person to call a residential (i.e. landline) telephone using an artificial or prerecorded voice, unless the person (or company) has prior express consent to call the cell phone number or if the call is made for emergency purposes.
Therefore, unless there is prior express consent, any call to your cell phone is a violation of the TCPA if an automatic dialer is used. Typically, when an automatic dialer is used to place the call, the recipient of the call either hears a recorded message upon answering or there is a short moment of silence or dead air before a live person comes on the call to talk.
Further, unless there is prior express consent, any call using a prerecorded or artificial voice is a violation of the TCPA, regardless of whether it is made to your landline or cell phone.
Also, even if you have provided express consent in the past to receive robo calls, you can revoke the consent either in writing or verbally. From the point of revocation of consent forward, all robo calls become violations of the TCPA.
Companies or persons making robocalls must provide the recipient of the calls with certain information, including, at the beginning of the message or call, the identity of the caller and the name of the business for whom the call is made. The call must also give the recipient the option to “opt out” of future calls.
Also, text messages and faxes are considered calls for the purposes of the TCPA. So the same rules apply to text messages and faxes using an automatic dialer or ATDS.
The Kittell Law Firm is one of the few consumer trial attorneys in Mississippi experienced in representing victims of TCPA violations in lawsuits and litigation filed using the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Attorney Christopher Kittell is admitted to all state and federal courts in Mississippi, as well as federal courts in the Western District of Tennessee, the Western District of Michigan and the District of Colorado but is willing to represent victims of TCPA violations anywhere in the United States. If you have been the victim of unwanted robo calls anywhere in the United States, please contact the Kittell Law Firm.