The TCPA: Telemarketers Who Violate the Law Face Consequences of $500 to $1500 Per Junk Text or Fax
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is codified as 47 U.S.C. 227. The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephone equipment. The TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, and junk texts and faxes.
Did You Know There Are Laws Against Robocall, Spam Texts and Junk Faxes?Federal and state laws prohibit using an automated telephone dialing system to make or send unsolicited telemarketing calls, texts, and faxes. You could be entitled to $500 to $1,500 per call from any telemarketer who violates the TCPA. The law specifies several requirements for telemarketers to lawfully use fax machines, auto-dialers, and voice messaging systems.
Statutory Damages of $500 to $1,500 Per CallThe TCPA makes it illegal to make calls using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice to cell phones, residential telephone lines or phones where the recipient is charged or to transmit advertisements without the consent of the recipient or, with certain exceptions, an existing business relationship with the recipient.
The law specifically states that each illegal text message or fax carries a civil fine of between $500 to $1,500, depending on the willfulness of the misconduct. This is per text, not individual, so if you receive 3 unsolicited text messages, your damages could range from $1,500 (3 multiplied by $500) up to $4,500 (3 multiplied by $1,500). Why the range? The damage amount turns on the level of culpability - did the defendant knowingly send a text message in violation of the TCPA?
More Than an AnnoyanceAs usual, you will find money is behind these unlawful telemarking practices. Many telemarketing sales calls are frauds which result in billions of dollars a year in losses to consumers using such scams as fake travel packages, charities, jackpots, and debt forgiveness as well as penny stocks and health care fraud.
Robo-dialed calls, texts and faxes are more than annoying, and in passing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act Congress clearly agreed. Bombarding people with thousands, and in some cases millions, of unsolicited robo-dialed calls, faxes, and text messages is not only an aggravating practice, but is also burdensome to our telecommunications systems and costly to consumers who often have a limited allowance of text messages per month so then the consumer is paying to receive a telemarketing message!
Junk Texts Can Even Be DangerousJunk faxes waste paper and ink and tie up your fax machine so you can't receive legitimate faxes. Junk sent to electronic faxes fill your inbox and consume server space. They are a waste of your time to sort out advertisements from real communications. Junk texts received while you are driving can be dangerous and create safety issues.
You Can Use The TCPA To Put A Stop To Abusive Telemarketing PracticesThe TCPA was enacted to to put a stop to these telemarketing practices and provide a monetary remedy for the recipients of illegal advertisements.