Report Telemarketer Abuse Make Them Pay (literally)

Facts About The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 is one of many the efforts made by governmental agencies to fight harassing phone calls from telemarketing solicitors. Also called Public Law 102-243, it was designed to respond to increased citizen concerns about unauthorized access to personal information.

According to the law, financial compensation must be paid when companies are in violation of these regulation included. For the most part, all it takes is making sure one is signed up through the national "Do Not Call List" then tracking annoying calls. In fact, compensation of up to $500 per violation.

If enough compensation is paid to consumers, telemarketing companies will soon learn that these annoying phone calls are not only unwanted, but will end up costing more than they earn. Solicitation calls come in many forms such as through auto dialing, voice messaging, text messages, and even on fax machines. Through any of these forms of contact the law still applies.

There are several provisions which set limitations under these mandates. For instance, calls can only be made between the hours of 8am and 9pm. Once informed you are not on the "do not call list," a violation occurs if a call is received within a 12-month period. If an additional call is made, the violation should be compensated. Additionally, companies must have clearly written policies about legal compliance which is available to anyone who requests it. Training programs must also be provided to all employees. This applies to all affiliates and subsidiaries of the original company as well.

It's important to note that there are a few exceptions. For example, non-profit organizations are exempt from this type of solicitation as their livelihood often depends on it. Flyers that are mailed to a specific address do not violate the law even if mailed to "occupant." Additionally, if a business relationship already exists, letters and calls of solicitation are allowed until such time as the company is notified in writing that contact should stop.

Some of the biggest violations come in the form of prerecorded voice mails generated by autodialers. This includes calls made to cell phone, pagers, or through the use of reverse charge services. To receive the compensation may take some time and effort, but is well worth the effort as it sends a clear message to telemarketing companies.

To receive compensation a name removal request needs to be filed through the courts first. Once granted an individual has the right to file a suit against the company for $500 in damages for each violation. With subsequent suits the court can award up to triple the amount requested. Complaints may also be filed with the Federal Communications Commission who can assess the penalties against companies and file a civil action for all the citizens involved.

Action must begin with individuals who are tired of receiving telemarketing phone calls by getting on the "Do Not Call List." If calls persist then identifying the caller and keeping careful track will provide the ammunition needed to ensure positive results when suits are filed. Only by standing together will companies change unwanted practices.

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