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Federal Law Protects Consumers from Robocalls & Spam Text Messages

Debt collectors and others frequently use machines to call and text consumers on their cell phones. These automated calls and texts can create a big headache by persistently ringing your phone, sending texts, and filling up your voicemail.

Luckily, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) in 1991 (and has updated it since) to safeguard people from exactly these types of unwanted communications! Better yet, you may be entitled to between $500 and $1500 for each unauthorized call or text placed to your phone.

Automated calls made with an autodialer, commonly referred to as “robocalls,” are typically pre-recorded messages played when you pick up the phone, or recorded into your voicemail. But robocalls that violate the TCPA include more than just pre-recorded voices.

Robocalls can result in conversations with REAL people too!

Just because you end up speaking with a real human, it does not mean you did not receive a robocall. Autodialers are often used to call multiple numbers, and then connect real people to the call only when consumers pick up the phone. It is usually easy to tell when an autodialer calls because there are odd noises or periods of silence between when you pick up the phone and when a live person comes on the line.

Ongoing Consent is Critical to Legally Conduct Robocalls

The TCPA requires the prior express consent of the recipient before debt collectors and others are allowed to send various types of machine-initiated calls and texts. If you never gave consent to receive robocalls and texts, then these communications are unauthorized and may violate the TCPA.

However, even if you have given your express consent (as part of a loan agreement, perhaps), you can revoke that consent at any time, in any meaningful way (including by simply telling the representative, “stop calling me”). Any robocall or automated text sent after you revoke consent violates the TCPA.

The TCPA has limited application to land lines; the bulk of its enforcement applies to cell phones. This makes sense because there are now more cell phones than people in the United States, and the number of landlines is decreasing.

Don’t Allow Unlawful Robocalls and Texts from Debt Collectors

If a debt collector or lender has been repeatedly robocalling and/or texting your cell phone within the past 4 years, you may have a strong case under the TCPA.

The consumer protection attorneys at Hawks Quindel help Wisconsinites who are wrongly contacted by companies. If you believe you have received unauthorized robocalls and texts on your cell phone, call the consumer protection attorneys at Hawks-Quindel today for a free consultation

Mike Godbe

Associate at Hawks Quindel
Attorney Michael Godbe fights for individuals to be treated fairly in the workplace and in the marketplace. He is an Associate Attorney at Hawks Quindel and splits his practice between employment law and consumer protection. His employment law practice centers on employment discrimination and employee rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, and his consumer protection practice covers a range from debt collection harassment and unlawful “robocalls” to auto sale fraud and unlawful repossessions. Attorney Godbe has represented individuals in Federal and State court, as well as in small claims court.

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