Who is guilty of robodialing?—The culprits.
- Debt collectors
- Credit card companies
- Student loan companies
- Mortgage companies
- Check-cashing companies
- Anyone calling to inform you that you have “won” a sweepstakes, free cruise, etc.
Harmful effects of autodialing— It’s not just a nuisance.
Autodialing can be an issue of life and death! For low-income families, and anyone who has limited access to mobile phone minutes, robocalls and messages can be a financial strain that imperils a family’s health and stability. Robocalls can also put individuals in unnecessary danger. Robocalls can raise levels of stress and anxiety, and can be unfortunate distractions from work or driving.
What is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?:
Congress passed the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to defend people from unwanted solicitation in the form of robocalls, autodials, telemarketers, invasive text messages etc. The TCPA created a National Do Not Call registry that consumers can enroll in to prevent annoying robocalls and texts. Companies and solicitors now must honor the Do Not Call list permanently. Still, many companies ignore the TCPA, the Do Not Call Registry, and State Laws restricting autodialers. Consumers who bring lawsuits against these companies are sometimes awarded millions of dollars.
Myth 1: “If I say I don’t want to be robocalled, or if I sue a robocall company, I’ll won’t receive important information in the future.”
- Fact 1: The TCPA only prohibits autodialed calls to phones without consent, but emergency calls and texts are always allowed—even without consent. For example, even if you don’t want to receive robocalls, you will still receive things like 1) alerts about a possible fraudulent charge on your credit card 2) information from your health care provider about a recent prescription.
Myth 2: “Class action lawsuits under the TCPA are only helping lawyers and hurting businesses trying to communicate with customers.”
- Fact 2: The fear of class action law suits is an important deterrent to businesses who might otherwise robodial. The TCPA protects millions of consumers from receiving unwanted calls and texts to their phones.
- A very small number of business are sued under the TCPA because most businesses are following the provisions regarding contacting consumers. Only businesses that autodial phones for, which they do not have up-to-date ownership information, risk liability from these lawsuits.
- Consumers are the ultimate beneficiaries of class action lawsuits under the TCPA.
Myth 3: “An effective way to make sure businesses are autodialing only their consumers is to give them time to ascertain the owner of each phone number.”
- Fact 3: Giving businesses time to ascertain the actual owner of each phone number (a ‘safe harbor’) does not provide business enough of incentive to develop technology to accurately and quickly identify who they are calling. If businesses know they must only call the numbers of certain consumers, they may use other strategies like making a preliminary manual call, and making sure the person who answers is a consumer who consents to being contacted by phone.
Myth 4: “Industries making autodialed calls to phones have no incentive to call wrong numbers, and should not be punished for mistakenly calling wrong numbers.”
- Fact 4: The problem isn’t that businesses have no incentive to call wrong numbers, it’s that they have no reason not to call them. This means the businesses are willing to call wrong numbers because of the low cost of autodialing. Meanwhile, there are real costs associated with verifying phone numbers.