I remember when cell phones were a novelty. The only people who had a cell phone were the very wealthy and perhaps a handful of very busy business people. But now, the cell phone is ubiquitous. And this means that we’re all accessible 24/7. That’s great when you need to communicate with your family, friends, and co-workers or call for help when needed. But, it also means that we are all much more accessible that ever before. And this fact has not escaped those who want to make unsolicited contact with us to sell a product or service, collect a debt, or perhaps for more nefarious purposes. Technology has made it much easier to make calls more cheaply and on a larger scale than ever before.
Unwanted Phone Calls Are a Large Issue
A recent article in Consumer Affairs reports that U.S. consumers received 4.9 billion robocalls during the first quarter of 2018. A robocall is generally defined as a call made to your cell phone which was auto-dialed by a machine or computer. Telemarketers often use this technique to reach large numbers of consumers in a short period of time. But telemarketers aren’t the only type of robocaller. According to the Consumer Affairs article, the largest group of robocallers in the first quarter of 2018 were classified as general spam. The next group consisted of scam calls where the caller was attempting to steal money or personal information from consumers. The smallest group consisted of traditional telemarketers.
Besides being annoying, robocalls are frequently illegal. A federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is an effective way to combat unwanted robocalls. And the increase in robocalls has not escaped Congress’ recent attention. The Senate Commerce Committee has held hearings on the problem. There is a call to strengthen the TCPA to give consumers a more powerful way to get relief from these calls. One suggestion this that the Federal Trade Commission should adopt an expansive rule to cover the broad types of robocalls as well as unwanted text messages.
In the meantime, if you are plagued by robocalls, there is something you can do. The TCPA does allow a private lawsuit to be filed by consumers to get relief. Depending on the nature of the robocalls and frequency with which a consumer receives these calls, very significant amounts of money damages may be recoverable by the consumer. You should consult with a reputable consumer protection lawyer to discuss the situation and your options. Our lawyers will meet with you to review your case and help you determine your best course of action. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.