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Robocalls Continue to Foster Illegal Telemarketer Lawsuits as Rules Further Tighten

. By
Washington, DCThere is little doubt that illegal robocalls remain a blight on the communications horizon as Americans continue to have their rights for privacy and solitude violated by a seemingly unending parade of unwanted calls to private voice lines, fax lines and cell phones. This, in spite of recent changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requiring purveyors of such calls to obtain a consumer’s written permission to receive.

In other words, it’s no longer okay to establish permission based on a business or preexisting relationship of some kind between the robocaller and consumer. In addition to rules already established governing times of day and such, a robocaller must be able to provide proof of a recipient’s permission that such calls and faxes are welcome, or at the very least, acceptable rather than unwanted and obtrusive. Failing that, a robocaller can leave himself open to telemarketer lawsuits.

It should be noted that telemarketing, done properly and according to mandated rules and guidelines, can actually prove useful to the consumer and serve as an important marketing tool for businesses and retailers. However, bad apples that ignore the rules help create a situation that becomes toxic for all players.

This point, among others, was made May 18 of this year by US Senator John Thune (R-SD), as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation convened a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Dubbed “The Telephone Consumer Protection Act at 25: Effects on Consumers and Business,” the session acknowledged that while many historic practices known to be disruptive and abusive have been reduced or eliminated, others capitalizing on new technology have in many ways muted that progress. And while the TCPA is seen as being effective, legislators and pundits agreed that it may be showing its age and that further updates might be required not only to bring the TCPA fully into the twenty-first century, but also to ensure it is not harming those who play by the rules.

Attorneys conversant with debt collector harassment and telemarketer lawsuits agree that recent and forthcoming rule updates to the TCPA should make it easier for consumers to file a nuisance call lawsuit over illegal robocalls - especially since written permission is required. Few consumers would provide this willingly, unless they are duped into doing so and thus, further room for litigation.

Consumers and businesses that do not wish to receive fax blasts, for example, have claimed damages and compensation for the loss of paper, toner and ultimately the life of their fax printer. Consumers with limited data plans, and facing charges for unwanted calls and text messages to their mobile phones, also claim damages.

In fact, one of the few exceptions to the TCPA’s prohibition on autodialed and prerecorded calls to cell phones was pushed through Congress as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015: to allow such calls when placed to collect a debt owed to, or guaranteed by, the United States Government.

But even that amendment is expected to go away soon, as there has been a lack of universal support for the idea, and legislation has been introduced in the current term of Congress to roll back that amendment - although progress has been slow.

Be that as it may, the legal community suspects that heightened rules to require written consent to be robocalled, messaged or faxed will result in a continued upward spike of telemarketer lawsuits.

For the plaintiff, a nuisance call lawsuit can be lucrative, given the private right of action and statutory damages of $500 for each violation and up to $1,500 for each willful violation.

Extrapolate that across dozens or even hundreds of illegal robocalls and text messages within an identified time frame, and one can imagine the financial windfall, not to mention the justice that is allowed to prevail.

Beyond that, purveyors of illegal telemarketing calls also face a potential roadblock in acquiring liability insurance to protect them from such actions, given that insurers, and for the most part the courts, appear to agree that illegal robocalls and the willful disregard for do-not-call lists, time-of-day calls and other guidelines inherent with the TCPA - including the requirement for written permission - precludes insurance coverage in most cases.

To that end, the robocaller takes a chance that an insurer will balk and refuse to release liability insurance funds if a robocall, SMS message or fax blast is deemed unwanted and illegal.

Similarly, the legal purveyors of robocalls and fax blasts who play by the book and follow all the rules must be diligent in digesting language in a liability insurance policy to determine the presence of any language, however small, that may trump a payout.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Ask for a certified/notarized copy of the contract binding CU Recovery and you in lawful contract. They can't give you one because it does not exist. I won a $6000 settlement against ERC (Florida) back in 2015 for robocalls. I hope it all works out for you.

Posted by

on
"Rules further tighten"? Give me a break. I get 4-5 illegal calls a day from these annoying pathetic telemarketers and have tried everything. The National Do Not Call Register is a joke and repeatedly filing complaints with the FCC is a complete waste of time. It's all just a front to make us think something is being done about it when it's really not. If they really wanted to prosecute these illegal telemarketing companies and scam artists they could.

Posted by

on
Pinnacle Funding Robo calls every day

Posted by

on
I keep getting the fraudulent lower my interest rate on my non-existent credit card at least 16x a day. They use different phone numbers and some of they're fake or numbers that are spoofed. Requests have constantly ignored and when you request that they stop calling you, the crooks says I will call you back.

I am sick and tired of the political calls. I have had to resort to tell the phone bank operators I will only vote for the candidate that pays me the most money.

The Do Not Call List is about as reputable as the illegal telemarketing scammers.

Posted by

on
I am on the do not call list for landline and cell but I keep getting these annoying calls all hours of the day and night, when you try to get them to remove your numbers or tell them I am on the do not call list you press the number they tell you and it's a none working number, so then they call back 4 to 10 times a day. This is very maddening. Got the IRS scam call 4 times last week on my cell phone, enough is enough!

Posted by

on
Nobody talks about robo-calls from "UNKNOWN" address, who use "unknown" telephone numbers but AT&T protects those criminals' "Privacy Rights". However, MY privacy rights are being violated by AT&T to protect criminals using untraceable telephone numbers. Please read:

***************************
May 11, 2016

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
P.O. Box 4503
Iowa City, IA 52244

Subject: False “Debt” Not Mine
Calls to my Cellular;
For the last four (4) months, I have been getting calls from a criminal enterprise, disguised as “collection agency” that refuses to identify itself. Recently, I called twice to (888) 868-4624, and (866) 487-8320, trying to stop this telephonic harassment, to no avail. Both times, the person responding refused to give me the name and address of the office where he and she was calling from. On the contrary, both individuals demanded that I provide my name, social security number and address where this criminal enterprise could deliver a “court document”: against me under their Claim # 3530464.

This case has all the characteristics of a previous criminal enterprise named Pinnacle Payment Services, which I complained about in 2013. FTC File: 132-3043 / X140002.

The most recent calls received took place April -2016, up until today, this criminal enterprise has been calling my cellular number above listed.

? April 25, 2016. A female called from (888) 868-4624, and stated that she had a legal court document against me; under Claim # 3530464. She further stated that in order for me to make an expeditious payment of “my debt”, without reaching a court of law, I needed to call (866) 487-8320 and provide my personal information, address, social security number, date of birth, before “it was too late.” No amount of money owed was discussed. No name of the alleged “creditor”, no type of “debt” was discussed (credit card), (money loan), (vehicle payment), the caller did not give me a single reason at all for me to pay the alleged “debt.”

? April 26, 2016. The same female caller (888) 868-4624; was making the same above statements. Again, she stated that a “fast way” to settle my debt, will be to call (866) 487- 8320.

? On April 26, 2016, I called the number, (888) 868-4624, and a male answered. This male refused to tell me the name and address, of this criminal enterprise. When I questioned the irregular tactic to charge unknown debts; he snapped “are you going to give me, your social security number, your name and address”? Yes or No?.

When I asked again, are you going to give the name and address of your agency? He hung-up the phone on me.

? April 27, 2016. A male caller who identified himself as “Ron McConnell” called from this number; (866) 487-8320. He threatened to take “legal action” if I did not give him my name, address, and social security number.

False “Debt” Not Mine Page 2 of 3
Robo-calls to my Cellular;

? April 28, 2016. A female caller used telephone number (866) 487-8320 to call me. Same statements as above listed. She also mentioned that needed my name and address, to deliver “legal document” with a Claim # 3530464.

? May 2, 2016. A female caller used telephone number (866) 487-8320 to call me. Same statements as above listed. She also mentioned that needed my name and address, to deliver a “legal document” with a Claim # 3530464.

? May 3, 2016. A female caller used telephone number (866) 487-8320 to call me. Same statements as above listed. She also mentioned that needed my name and address, to deliver a “legal document” with a Claim # 3530464.

? May 4, 2016. A female caller used telephone number (866) 487-8320 to call me. Same statements as above listed. She also mentioned that needed my name and address, to deliver a “legal document” with a Claim # 3530464.

? May 5, 2016. A male who identified himself as; Ron McConnell was more aggressive this time. He called from (888) 868-4624. He spoke with impatience, and threatened to execute a “legal document” under Claim # 3530464. He stated, “This is your last chance”, “before legal action is taken.”

? May 6, 2016. The same criminal named Ron McConnell, called from (888) 868-4624 and his threats to take legal action were more desperate. McConnell stated that he gave me enough time to respond his Claim # 3530464.

? May 6, 2016. A female called me using the number; (866) 487-8320, She too, like Ron McConnell, sounded angry, impatient, and threatened to take “legal action” for not responding this criminal enterprise’s demand for “payment of my debt.”

? May 9, 2016. A female called me using the number; (866) 487-8320, She continued with threats to take “legal action” for not responding this criminal enterprise’s demand for “payment of my debt.”

? May 9, 2016. Ron McConnell called from (888) 868-5394, and stated with anger that I was going to face “legal action” for non-payment of the Claim # 3530464.

? May 10, 2016. A female called me using the number; (866) 868-5394, She limited herself to state that I needed to respond and pay “my debt.”

? May 11, 2016. Someone called from (888) 868-5394. No message left. Just pure Cyber harassment



False “Debt” Not Mine Page 3 of 3
Robo-calls to my Cellular;


POSSIBLE AT& T CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY

A previous request for AT&T to provide me with the name and address of this, and other criminal enterprises, was denied. AT&T requires a “Subpoena” in order to release information of these criminals. Allegedly, AT&T is “protecting” these criminals’ “Privacy Rights”

If this criminal enterprise was a legitimate business, it would not need to hide its name, address, and would not have to use unlisted (untraceable) telephone numbers. This is an illegitimate criminal enterprise protected by AT&T.

I can tell AT&T that the civil or business rights of these criminals; cease to exist the very moment when they, in conspiracy with AT&T, start violating my civil and privacy rights.

I searched Federal laws, and could not find a single citation of Federal, or State of Texas laws that prevent AT&T from disclosing information pertaining to these criminal enterprises. I can only guess that AT&T is knowingly and willfully receiving money from criminal enterprises to prevent victims of Cyber-criminals from taking legal action. Apparently, AT&T places more value in the kickbacks received from criminals, then the legal rights of customers.

I will continue with my investigation. As soon as I find the name and address of these criminals, I will file a Class Action Suit against the criminals and AT&T for adding and abating criminals; (co-conspirators).
REQUEST FOR A SUBPOENA

Respectfully, I am requesting help from the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission to allow me subpoena from AT&T the name and address of these criminals calling my cellular. Even though for the last four (4) months I advised these criminals that my telephone number (469) 236-2230, was in the “DO NOT CALL LIST”; for the same period of time, the criminals keep calling my number.

As soon as the FTC or FCC provides me with a subpoena, I will keep both Federal offices informed of the results of my investigation.

Do not hesitate to contact me at my cellular, or the below listed address should you have further questions regarding this matter.

Posted by

on
Between Robo sales calls and the unending political calls, I don't even answer my land line anymore. And now I am starting to get sales calls (especially solar) on my cell phone, which really honks me off! I would love to sue these jerks for disturbing my peace and tranquility. And I don't know why they exempted political calls... I don't want to talk with them either!

Posted by

on
I am very interested in this investigation get several calls a day tried blocking them they use a different number thank u denise Cleveland

Posted by

on
I have been receiving these phone calls from home, my cell and even my work. It is getting ridiculous. You ask them to take you off the the list and they still call just a different person

Posted by

on
i was getting so many call I had to change my phone that I had for 20years, the calls got so band I changed phone provider that I had

Posted by

on
How do I qualify?

Posted by

on
I have had way over a hundred calls of this sort, many call from numbers that if I call back there is a phone company standard recording about the number not being in service. How can I be getting hundreds of calls from all over the U. S. that are not in service. There has to be a way for a citizen to fight back but I can't find any information on how to fight back and these calls can be costly when these calls go to my cell phone.

Posted by

on
I get these calls a lot 5-6 times on my cell phone and about the same on my home phone land line. Even when I ask them to stop they still come even when I choose to opp out by pressing #2 I still get them....I am so tired of it.

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