Phones are a great way to connect people, but they can also be used by telemarketers. One telemarketing call here or there may not be a problem, but some people experience telemarketing abuse. If you would like to know more, so you can better protect yourself from unwanted calls, keep reading.
What Protects You From Telemarketing Abuse?
The government has created acts and rules to help protect people from telemarketing abuse. The FTC passed the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), which was enacted in 1995. According to the TSR, telemarketers must be open and honest about who they are, why they work for, and why they are calling. It also set up other rules, such as when telemarketers can and cannot call.
The FCC also has its own rules for telemarketers. They passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. This act includes much of the same rules that are included in the TSR. Both the TSR and TCPA also prohibit telemarketers from giving vague answers about prizes, or being misleading about the real cost of goods and services.
Is Anyone Excluded From the TSR and TCPA?
Some businesses are excluded from the TSR and TCPA, including banks, federal credit unions, common carriers (like long-distance phone companies), and non-profit organizations. However, any company or individual who contacts with one of these organizations must follow the TSR and TCPA.
In other words, if someone from the bank keeps calling you, you may not have much recourse, but if the bank hires a company to provide telemarketing services, that company must follow the TSR or TCPA. Therefore, if they don’t follow the rules, you can take action.
What if the Unwanted Calls Don’t Stop?
You can do a few things to stop unwanted calls. Add your number to the Do Not Call Registry. You can also tell the telemarketer directly to stop calling you. They are supposed to avoid calling anyone on the registry and anyone who has asked to stop receiving calls.
If you keep getting unwanted calls after adding your number to the national Do Not Call Registry, consider that the calls may be coming from a scammer. Scammers often pretend to be telemarketers, but since they are already breaking the law, they don’t bother following the TSR or checking the Do Not Call Registry.
When scammers are involved, unfortunately, you may not be able to sue. Most likely, the scammer is using a spoof number, fake name, and fake company, so it’s hard to locate them to sue. However, if you stop interacting with them and answering calls, they may realize you aren’t someone who can be easily scammed and leave you alone.
Thanks to the TCPA if the calls are coming from a legitimate telemarketer, you can sue for each unauthorized call. In fact, you may get up to $1,500 per unauthorized call. The TCPA also covers unauthorized faxes, and you can get up to $500 per unauthorized fax.
Why Is Telemarketing Abuse Dangerous?
Telemarketing abuse is problematic for several reasons. First, it is annoying and frustrating to get a bunch of calls you don’t want. However, more importantly, telemarketing abuse can easily turn into a scam. Even if it isn’t a scam, if the telemarketer isn’t being honest, you may agree to charges you didn’t realize. Unfortunately, many scammers and telemarketer abusers target elderly people who are living on a fixed budget.
Last, being fooled by a scammer or getting tricked by telemarketing abuse tactics can be embarrassing. It may make you feel foolish and stupid, which can affect your self-esteem and overall confidence.
If you keep getting unwanted calls, add your number to the national Do Not Call Registry, but if that doesn’t work, you may need to sue the abusive telemarketer. You can typically sue for every call that included a violation of the TSR and TCPA. If you would like to know more, or if you want to take the next step to stop unwanted telemarketer abuse, contact us at Heidarpour Law Firm today.