Robocaller and automated mass texting strategies are effective marketing methods for companies trying to increase sales. These tools allow companies to reach a larger number of prospective customers relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and FCC regulations limit the use of these marketing tools and techniques. These limitations, if breached, typically result in high financial penalties or class actions. If your company is in trouble for violating TCPA rules, our law firm can help you.
If you're looking for a competent TCPA lawyer in California, you need a legal team that understands the TCPA rules and how they apply to digital marketing. Let's unpack TCPA guidelines and regulations, what to do if someone files a lawsuit against you, and what our law firm can do to ease your troubles.
TCPA is an acronym for the 'Telephone Consumer Protection Act 47 USC § 227.' This federal law applies to all businesses in the United States. The TCPA limits companies or debt collectors from calling clients or prospective customers using automated dialing systems (robocallers).
If consumers feel they are receiving unwanted calls from telemarketers or debt collectors, they can sue the offending party. TCPA extends to regulating fax machines and SMS text messages for solicitation purposes. If your marketing methods involve unsolicited outbound telephone strategies, you might face claims of violating the TCPA rules.
TCPA aims to eliminate commercial calling practices which may be termed irrelevant, repetitive, or intrusive to consumers. Another one of the stated goals of the TCPA is to protect consumer privacy.
The TCPA restricts unethical practices of debt collectors and telemarketers. However, we understand that what may be unwanted calls are just you trying to grow your business. Let's unpack the TCPA rules in detail.
The TCPA places restrictions specifically on solicitation calls and calls by debt collectors. These businesses must adhere to the following rules in their marketing campaigns.
- You are not allowed to place unwanted calls to cell phones with automated, artificial, or pre-recorded messages.
- Even if you have express consent, you may only place such calls between 9 P.M. and 8 A.M.
- Absolutely no unwanted calls to numbers on the Do-Not-Call registry (more on this below).
- If you are making a solicitation call, you must identify yourself and/or the company/entity you represent. Furthermore, you must provide a telephone number and address for the company.
- Any request made by the person you call should be immediately complied with and confirmed.
- You must use a real phone number when calling a potential customer, meaning you cannot create a fake caller ID (also called "spoofing").
- Let's say you have an "existing business relationship" with someone, meaning they are a company or entity with whom you have conducted business in the past. The Federal Communications Commission enforces any requests by such entities to be placed on a "do not call."
Maintained by the United States federal government, the National Do Not Call Registry is a database listing telephone numbers (of individuals and entities) who have elected not to be contacted by telemarketers making sales calls.
The Federal Trade Commission does, however, allow calls from the following sources, as long as they don't also contain a sales pitch:
- Debt collection calls.
- Political calls.
- Charitable calls.
- Informational calls.
Are you facing a TCPA class action for making these calls? They may be wrongful claims against your company. Our law firm in California can help you navigate the complexities of handling a TCPA lawsuit.
If your business makes use of telemarketing strategies, it's important to know what actions might place you in violation of the TCPA rules. The following actions violate the TCPA.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits marketers from contacting business and personal cell phones through automated phone calls, mass text messages, and pre-recorded voice messages.
Every time a telemarketer places a robocall or sends a text message without the receiver's express consent, they may face a claim of making unwanted calls in violation of the TCPA.
Even if the consumer consents to the call, they have the right to revoke it. In other words, they can ask you to place them on your business's independent Do Not Call list.
If you make robocalls or leave prerecorded messages on residential landline telephone numbers of people with whom you do not have an "established business relationship," you'll be violating the TCPA rules.
If you've done business with the consumer in question in the last 18 months, or if they have made an inquiry into your organization during that time, you and the consumer share an established business relationship.
Therefore, contact us if you violate TCPA rules for communicating with a consumer with whom you already have a relationship. We'll take action on your behalf.
As discussed before, the TCPA strictly prohibits telemarketing calls or texts, as well as debt collection calls, to numbers on the 'Do-Not-Call registry.'
Consumers have the right to place their residential and cell phone numbers on this registry. One of the most common TCPA violations is contacting numbers on this registry.
If you're facing a TCPA lawsuit, you need a legal team behind you, well-versed in TCPA law. We can help you build a solid and effective defense.
Any organization using solicitations through telecommunications channels is at risk of being tagged with a TCPA violation claim. You can expect the following recourse against you, depending on the lawsuit's parameters.
A TCPA violation claim is a strict liability statute. A violation doesn't have to stem from criminal intent or fault. Unintentional TCPA violations may result in damages up to $500 for each call. If you have willfully violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you may receive fines up to $1,500 per violation.
More than one-third of all TCPA lawsuits are class actions. Due to penalties levied on large volumes of calls, class actions are likely to result in financially catastrophic verdicts that could bankrupt your firm. The average cost of a TCPA class action settlement is approximately $7 million.
Legal fees and penalties are easy to identify. However, you'll feel uncertain about your company's financial future when facing unknown fines and damages. Our law [firm] gives you the best chance of avoiding lawsuits and financial penalties for TCPA violations.
All businesses want an ethically responsible image in their market. If your business runs afoul of TCPA rules, future and prospective clients and other companies may bill your company as an unethical organization, deteriorating your reputation.
Furthermore, a TCPA lawsuit can mark you as a potential target of future lawsuits. Much of the TCPA litigation in the US comes from a small group of legal firms specializing in TCPA lawsuits.
These are called "serial plaintiffs": people who have made TCPA lawsuits their cash cows. If your business has already received a TCPA lawsuit, it is easily identifiable for future lawsuits (deemed profitable for them).
Fighting a lawsuit is expensive. The time and resources spent on negotiations and trials limit your budget and the growth of your business.
Insurance policies designed to cover TCPA litigation tend to be expensive, creating another avenue through which TCPA violations can suck cash flow from your company.
Beyond TCPA-specific insurance companies, commercial liability insurers will likely not want to provide coverage for TCPA violation claims faced by their clients.
The best way to prevent TCPA lawsuits from taking you to court is to ensure your business and marketing team is compliant with TCPA law.
The following are the do's and don'ts to prevent being sued for TCPA breaches:
- Don't call any number listed in the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
- Don't place telemarketing calls before 8 A.M. or after 9 P.M. in the time zone of the customer's state of residence.
- Don't place texts or calls to anyone without prior express written consent.
- Don't use recordings, auto-dialers, or artificial voices in telemarketing phone calls.
- Don't use an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) to contact: (1) Any emergency telephone line, (2) Any hospital patient/guest room of a hospital/healthcare facility, and (3) Numbers assigned to a paging, cellular telephone, specialized mobile radio service, or any service charged to the consumer.
- Don't call known plaintiffs and litigators who are likely to sue you.
- Do maintain an internal Do-Not-Call policy and registry— this is required by law.
- Do immediately honor consumer requests who wish to receive calls from you no longer.
- Do provide consumers with accessible and clear ways of opting out of future contact.
We can help you with TCPA compliance and more. Reach out to our offices, and we'll arrange a free consultation to discuss your business strategy and any pending TCPA lawsuits.
Do you need a TCPA lawyer? The TCPA restricts solicitations through unwanted calls, text messages, and mass communications. The purpose of this act is to protect consumers. The TCPA authorizes plaintiffs to recover up to $1,500 for every violation (quantifiable calls and texts) from the defendant.
You have a better chance of avoiding severe penalties against your company with a legal team experienced in handling TCPA lawsuits on your side.
Our firm has extensive experience defending TCPA class actions using various legal tools in pre-litigation and litigation. Our TCPA law firm in California is ready to fight your lawsuit on your behalf.
Companies that lose TCPA-related class-action lawsuits may be responsible for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in class-action lawsuits.
We believe prevention is better than cure. We make it our priority to help our clients structure robocaller campaigns that don't violate the TCPA rules.
Furthermore, we're well-versed in the requirements associated with consumer consent for specific kinds of calls. We know the right language to draft internal DNC and consumer consent policies.
The attorneys at our firm have experience defending clients against TCPA suits and claims alleging a violation. With our vast knowledge of the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, we can dismiss erroneous claims or build a strong defense if we go to court.
We're well-acquainted with serial plaintiffs and know how to navigate their processes. Part of our responsibility is to monitor changes and reforms in TCPA regulations and advise you. With our counsel, you can effectively evaluate opportunities and threats, protect your company and grow your business.
1. What is the TCPA Law?
TCPA stands for Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Signed into law in 1991, the TCPA protects consumer privacy. The law prevents unwanted and unsolicited calls by telemarketers and debt collectors. Specifically, it refers to the use of auto-dialer or robocaller tools. The act includes communications to cell phones and landlines of individuals and entities.
2. Do TCPA Rules Apply to Text Messages?
Yes. Phone calls and text messages are the primary modes of communication for telemarketers and debt collectors. Without prior express written consent, a caller is not allowed to text a customer. Note that your customer also has legal rights to opt-out of receiving such text messages at any time.
3. What is an "Existing Business Relationship"?
It describes an identifiable relationship based on voluntary, two-way communication between your company and an individual subscriber. If you have clients you have contacted before, you have an existing business relationship with them. The period during which this relationship applies is 18 months.
4. What is an Auto-dialer?
Applications and equipment which automatically dial phone numbers are called auto-dialers. Once the called party picks up, the auto-dialer routes the calls to an agent or plays prerecorded messages.
The TCPA law regulates auto-dialers.
5. What is an ATDS?
ATDS stands for Automatic Telephone Dialing System and is an umbrella term for predictive dialers, robocallers, and auto-dialers.
6. What is a robocall?
As the name suggests, a robocall is an automated phone call or voice message.
7. What is prior express written consent (PWEC)?
PWEC describes written permission from your customer or client authorizing you to send them texts, call them, or leave them voice messages to market your product. If you want to reach consumers without TCPA law violation claims, you need PWEC.
Statistics show TCPA violation claims create severe financial liability for companies. If found in violation of the act, your company could face hefty damages and fines in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
We know you work hard to keep your business afloat — that's why we offer you a free consultation to assess your company's TCPA compliance and strategies to implement if you're not compliant. Our professional, free consultations extend to companies facing TCPA violation lawsuits.
Take Action and Contact our TCPA Lawyer
If you're a telemarketing company using automated callers to contact consumers (whether existing or new), we can help you stay compliant and handle any pending lawsuit against your firm. Reach out to our team for a free consultation.