What to know about the Telemarketing Consumer Protection Act

Many homeowners in Minnesota receive robocalls, which are autodialed calls, and automatic text messages mostly from telemarketers attempting to sell products or services. The callers usually do not have permission to send these pre-recorded messages. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act passed in 1991 places restrictions on these calls.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act automatic call restrictions

The TCPA prohibits telemarketers from contacting consumers between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. without written consent. The caller must fully identify themselves, who they represent, the address and phone number of the business and their reason for calling. They cannot send messages to emergency services, health care facilities, hospitals or any line that may be charged for the call.

Consumers still received over 3 billion automated calls and messages from January to September 2020. Some callers find a way around the rules by disguising their identity or using VOIP.

Ways to stop automated calls

The law prohibits telemarketers from calling numbers on the National Do Not Call registry. The National Do Not Call Registry allows consumers to register their land line or mobile phone numbers free. After 31 days, they can report unsolicited calls.

Automated callers must give consumers an opt-out on the main menu, and a consumer may revoke previous permission they gave a telemarketer to call. The FCC rules on telemarketing messages usually do not apply to debt collectors leaving pre-recorded messages. However, they still have to follow the allowed call times, and they cannot leave pre-recorded messages on cell phones without permission.

When a telemarketer keeps violating the FCC rules, consumers have the right to sue via the Telemarketer Consumer Protection Act protections. An attorney may be able to assist a client with making a claim against the telemarketer.