Robocalls and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Like many people in Minnesota, you have likely received robocalls, or calls that use an auto dialer to send pre-recorded messages. These calls are commonly from solicitors trying to sell you a service or product. Robocalls are illegal in most cases, and many states have laws against them.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 1991 in response to the increased complaints about unsolicited telemarketing and robocalls. Unless you have given the caller written permission, they cannot contact you between 9 pm and 8 am. They must state who they are, the name of the business, the cost of services or products, and terms. They should provide you with business contact information, such as address and phone number.

They cannot make unsolicited calls to devices where you may get charged for the call. The laws also apply to sending automated text messaging, cell phones, faxes, and automated calling to emergency and medical phone lines. Telemarketers who violate these laws can get fined or sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Recognizing and stopping robocalls

Though the FCC has made efforts to reduce the number of robocalls, they still happen. If calls occur more than four times daily, it is likely an automated call. Calls with silence for several seconds with no human response followed by a recording is likely a robocall.

You may stop automated calls by registering your number on the Do Not Call Registry. After you register your number, they must stop calling you within 31 days. If the calls continue, the next step is to file a complaint on the FCC website. You may revoke previous consent given at anytime and choose not to receive calls from specific callers.

Not all robocalls are illegal, such as for political campaigns or doctor’s offices. If you feel a telemarketer has violated the TCPA laws and is harassing you, contact an attorney.