Stop Autodialers and Telemarketing Calls from Invading Your Privacy

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    Aug 21, 2013
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Stop Autodialers and Telemarketing Calls from Invading Your Privacy Photo by Abdiel Maclean

It seems there are a lot of autodialed telemarketing calls intruding in our lives, and if you’re being pestered with numerous, interruptive and unsolicited calls then here are some suggestions on how to effectively stop autodialers.

Telemarketing companies and collection agencies use the autodialer tool to streamline their cold-call process. They don’t want to waste their customer service representative’s time by dialing hundreds of numbers without ever communicating to an actual person. Instead, computer software dials your phone, waits for your live response, and then connects you with the customer representative. Meanwhile you may receive dozens of autodialed phone calls per day, picking up the phone only to hear a pre-recorded message asking you to hold. We are all familiar with the annoyance.

There are legal preventative measures you can take to stop autodialers from invading your privacy. The first step you should take to stop autodialers is to register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry. Once your number is on this national registry, telemarketers are required to recognize that it is on the list, and then remove it from their internal autodialer lists within 30 days of the discovery. They are allowed one “mistake” call per year after identifying your number on the list, and if they persist in calling after the 30-day period, they may be subject to federal penalties and fines.

There are also hardware solutions to stop autodialers. You can install a call-blocking device to your phone. This device recognizes autodialed calls and answers the call with a digital tone signifying the line is disconnected. This signal usually triggers the autodialer system to remove your number from that specific call list.

If the previous suggestions fail, then you can answer the phone and personally request that the agent remove your number from their list. If this does not work and you continue to be harassed by the same telemarketer, then you can request the company information, and report their abuses to the FTC. In this case it is advisable to keep a record of all the phone calls, voicemails, and attempts made by the offender to call you.

There are federal laws, like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) that protect your consumer rights. The TCPA restricts telemarketers from making unsolicited autodialed calls if your number is on the Do Not Call Registry, or if you have formally requested that your number is removed from their list, either verbally on the phone, or through a written letter sent via certified mail to the telemarketer. They must observe the removal request.

The TCPA does restrict all telemarketing calls from autodialing your cell phone number, unless you give consent for them to do so. Telemarketers are also restricted to make their autodialed calls between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. They are legally obligated to give you their company information, and to indefinitely remove your number from their lists if you request it.

The TCPA does not provide the same restrictions on autodialed calls from tax-exempt non-profit organizations. Telemarketers who are making sales calls solicited by you, or if you have a working relationship with them are not restricted by the TCPA from making autodialed calls.

If the telemarketer does violate the Do Not Call list, or ignores your request to remove your number from their lists, they are subject to federal penalties and fines. If you have grounds to file a complaint with the FTC, then consulting with a consumer law attorney can be beneficial. The TCPA establishes clear fines that come with violating the federal law.

If you continue to receive autodialed calls from a telemarketer after you have requested your number is removed, or registered with the Do Not Call list, then you may be able to sue the offending party up to $500 per autodialed call after your request was made. The TCPA grants the consumer the right to take legal action in a local court. In some cases the courts can levy triple the amount in damages, if the offender is egregious in their violation of the federal laws. There are also circumstances in which suits may be filed for the violation of other provisions in the TCPA, such as; abuses with faxes, prerecorded and artificial messages, calling multiple lines at an office or business, and calling cell phone numbers.

Everyone is affected by autodialed telemarketing calls. They are annoying, invasive, and in some cases, illegal. You can stop autodialers by registering your landline phone number with the Do Not Call Registry, and you can also directly request the telemarketer to remove your number from their list.

Remember, that the telemarketer must remove your number from their list indefinitely if you make the request. If they persist in calling you after 30 days of your number registry and request to remove your number, then you are entitled to take legal action. You may be able to get compensated for your troubles. If all other preventative methods have failed; then consulting with a consumer law attorney may help you find the relief you need to finally stop autodialers from harassing you.

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