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What Is The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is a federal law that was passed in 1991. The Act was signed into law by President George H. Bush, and it amended the previous Communications Act of 1934. The Act restricts telemarketers and the usage of automated telephone equipment. Under the TCPA, automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and fax machines are limited in their use. The Act also specifies several technical requirements for voice messaging systems, fax machines, and autodialers. Read on to learn more about TCPA, including what you can do if your rights were violated.

Contacting A TCPA Attorney In New York

If you have been harmed by Telephone Consumer Protection Act violations, or you want to have a better understanding of how TCPA applies to your situation, then you should consult with a consumer rights lawyer. Critically, if you believe that your TCPA rights have been violated, an experienced consumer rights attorney may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve via a lawsuit. The TCPA is complicated, and a lawyer experienced in this area of law will help achieve the best result for you. The experienced consumer protection lawyers at Law Office of Simon Goldenberg are ready to help you with your claims. For a free case analysis, call (888) 301-0584 or contact us online.

The Purpose Of The TCPA

In 1992, the FCC adopted rules in an effort to implement the TCPA. This included the requirement that telephone marketers maintain do-not-call lists. However, the FCC's initial do-not-call list regulations were ineffective at stopping unsolicited calls because it necessitated the consumer make a do-not-call request to each telemarketer. In response to this issue, in 2003, the FCC partnered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish a national Do Not Call Registry, with exceptions made for non-profits. The FCC later revised the rules relating to the TCPA to require businesses to get signed written consumer consent for robocalls to mobile phones or calls that utilized prerecorded voice messages. The revised rules also required that automated opt-outs be made available during these types of calls.

The TCPA was passed in response to an increasing number of consumer complaints relating to telemarketer and debt collector phone calls. The primary purpose of the TCPA is to reduce the number of nuisance phone calls received by consumers and to protect the consumer’s right to privacy.

We’ve all received a phone call from an unknown number calling to solicit for some business. These automated calls are known as "robocalls," which are dialed by a computer. In addition to "robocalls," there are also prerecorded voice messages used to call and contact the consumer with the use of the prerecording. Telemarketers and solicitors that have not obtained your consent to call or message you are subject to the TCPA provisions in place. For instance, under the TCPA, a telemarketer and solicitor may not call your residence outside the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time.

Most importantly, telemarketers and solicitors are required to maintain do-not-call lists of recipients who wish not to be called, and they are expected to honor that list for five years. They are also expected to honor the National Do Not Call Registry. Under the TCPA, telemarketers and solicitors are also prohibited from making automated phone calls to emergency lines such as to a hospital, doctors' officers, mobile phones, or any other recipient who will be charged for the call.

Despite the efforts of this Federal law in decreasing the number of robocalls received by consumers, the number of robocalls has continued to skyrocket over the past few years. In November 2020, 3.8 billion robocalls were received by phone users in the United States. That equates to roughly 127 million phone calls per day. In 2018, the FCC received a total of 232,000 complaints relating to unwanted phone calls. These unwanted calls included robocalls and telemarketing calls.

Continued skyrocketing numbers of these types of calls primarily happen because there exists an incentive to engage in robocalling practices. It also doesn’t help that the cost of doing it is low. Unfortunately, many robocalls are conducted by employees that work overseas, leaving them far from the reach of the United States authorities.

Are There Other Laws Like The TCPA That Offer Similar Protections?

One important thing to note is that the TCPA does not preempt state laws. This means that a state law providing more protection to recipients will trump the federal TCPA. Check your state’s legislative website to determine if there are any laws like the TCPA enforceable in your respective state. A recent United States Supreme Court decision narrowly defined what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system. Following this holding, states began to amend their own laws to include more restrictions against telemarketers and solicitors.

If you or someone you know continuously receives unsolicited calls, you might be entitled to compensation under the Federal TCPA or the parallel applicable state law. Our firm is experienced in dealing with these kinds of claims and is dedicated to assisting you in ridding nuisance telephone calls from telemarketers and solicitors. Call our office today for a free consultation to discuss your options and next steps.