In 1991 Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to respond to the concerns of consumers over the growing number of unsolicited telemarketing calls made to their homes, as well as the increased use of automated and prerecorded messages. Rules were adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requiring that anyone making telephone solicitation calls to a person’s home provide:
Telemarketing calls to a home were also prohibited before 8 am or after 9 pm, and telemarketers were also required to comply with do-not-call requests made directly to the caller during the solicitation call. In 2003, the FCC, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented the National Do-Not-Call list. Telemarketers covered by these rules have up to 31 days from the date a consumer registers their telephone number on the National Do-Not-Call list to remove it from their call lists and cease contact.
Once a consumer has placed their home phone number(s) (including personal wireless numbers) on the National Do-Not-Call list, telemarketers are then prohibited from making calls to those numbers. The consumer’s numbers remain on the list until they have been removed by the consumer or the consumer discontinues service. Consumers do not need to re-register their numbers.
Only Home or Personal Wireless Phone Numbers are Protected
While a consumer can register a business number on the National Do-Not-Call list, the registration of that number does not make telephone solicitations unlawful. The same applies to business fax numbers. However there are separate rules prohibiting the sending of fax advertisements that are unsolicited in most circumstances.
What is Telephone Solicitation?
Telephone solicitations are calls which act as advertisements. These do not include calls or messages made with the consumers express prior permission, by or on the behalf of an organization that is a tax-exempt non-profit, or from a person or organization the consumer has an established business relationship (EBR).
EBR exists if a consumer has made an inquiry, application, purchase, or transaction with the person or organization that is making the telemarketing call or on whose behalf the call is made. The consumer can generally end this relationship by telling the person or entity to cease placing solicitation calls to their home. EBR is also only in effect for 18 months after the consumer made their last business transaction or, in cases where only inquiry or application was made, three months. After these time periods have passed, any calls made to home numbers by the person or entity are considered telephone solicitations are subject to the do-not-call rules.
Company-Specific and State Do-Not-Call Lists
Regardless of whether a consumer has placed their phone numbers on the National Do-Not-Call list, persons or entities who place voice telephone solicitations must maintain records of consumers direct requests that consumers make not to receive future telephone solicitations. The request not to call must be honoured for five years. After the five years has lapsed, the consumer will need to repeat their request to the company, after which it must be honoured for another five years.
Many states also have statewide do-not-call lists for their residents. To determine whether your state has such a list a consumer should contact their state’s public service commission or consumer protection office.
Our experienced attorneys here at Krohn and Moss Consumer Law Center have also provided many helpful resources regarding the TCPA and the FDCPA and how telephone debt collectors should act. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website at http://www.krohnandmoss.com/.