It’s one thing to be annoyed by robocalls. It’s quite another to have your rights violated by them. Unfortunately, too few consumers know what’s okay and what’s not. And knowing that difference can not only help you stop robocalls simply because they’re annoying, but also help you recognize when the callers are breaking the law. A new FTC action against violators reminds – know your robocall rights.
About the Alleged Violations
The FTC recently took action against two groups of defendants for allegedly making millions of illegal robocalls over several years’ time.
According to the complaints:
- Telemarketing operator Justin Ramsey and other defendants in the case allegedly made robocalls trying to sell – or gets leads for – home security products. The problem is, millions of these robocalls were illegal because they were calling consumers listed on the national Do Not Call Registry.
- Telemarketing operator Aaron Michael Jones and other defendants in the case allegedly made similar robocalls, not only trying to sell – or generate leads for – home security systems, but also extended auto warranties and search engine optimization services. Again, millions of these robocalls were illegal because the consumers were listed on the national Do Not Call Registry.
In addition to bans on any future robocalling, the court orders impose total judgments of over $10 million. Of that, only a little more than $500,000 will be collected due to inability to pay.
Your Robocall Rights
As reported by the Better Business Bureau (BBB):
Robocalls are LEGAL under the following conditions:
- It’s a sales call from someone you gave written permission to call you
- The robocall is about support for a political campaign or charity
- The purpose of the robocall is purely informational (i.e., not trying to sell you something) – this applies to anything ranging from an appointment reminder to a message from a debt collector
Robocalls are ILLEGAL under the following conditions:
- It’s a sales call from someone you did not give written permission to call you
- You are on the national Do Not Call Registry
Actions You Can Take
- Add your name to the national Do Not Call Registry
- Do not give companies written permission to contact you (unless you want them to)
- If you suspect it is an illegal call, hang up and submit a complaint to the FTC and BBB – it’s not only a matter of stopping the illegal behavior on the part of legitimate companies, but also rooting out scammers
Calls Coming from Debt Collector?
Make sure you know your debt collection rights, too.