Please remember that nothing in the thread should be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney/client relation. Consult with an attorney if you want tailored and specific advice to your particular situation

Hello everyone! A few days ago, news broke of a woman who sued over 153 unsolicited telephone calls and won $229,500.

Well, I was not her attorney.

I am, however, an attorney who sues companies under that same law, which is known as the "Telephone Consumer Protection Act" (or "TCPA" for short). I posted information about this law in a couple of threads the other day (see here and here), and I received a lot of questions, so I thought I'd open myself up for questions here. I'm based in New Jersey, but bring these cases nationwide.

My Proof: Made a quick blog post on my website.

About the TCPA

The TCPA was a law meant to protect people from unwanted telephone calls and faxes. It provides for an award of $500-$1500 per call. The rules are a little different depending on whether you're getting calls on your cell phone, landline, VoIP, or if you're getting junk faxes. See this quick cheatsheet. Basically:

  • Cell phones: Prerecorded voice and calls (and texts) made using an "automatic dialer" are illegal without consent. For non-telemarketing calls, the consent required can be oral or written, and simply giving your phone number = consent. For telemarketing, consent must be in writing. Political callers and charities are not exempt. This law also includes debt collectors, even for debt you owe, as well as repeated wrong number calls.

  • Landlines: Prerecorded telemarketing calls are illegal without express written consent.

  • VoIP: If you pay per minute or per call, treat like cell phones. If pay monthly for unlimited (or free), treat like landline.

  • Fax: Unsolicited fax advertisement? Illegal. Faxes also need a detailed opt out notice, even if solicited. If not there? Illegal.

CONSENT CAN BE REVOKED.

EDIT TO ADD I forgot the do not call list. If you receive two or more telemarketing calls in a 12-month period to your cell or landline and your cell or landline number is on the do not call list, that's a separate violation, and potentially an additional $500-$1500 per call (meaning up to $3000 per call).

Of course, not all calls are worth suing about. Many "companies" that continue to call are scammers spoofing their caller ID that will be impossible to track down and recover from. It's unfortunate. My short hand? Two of the following must be present to be worth investigating further:

  • the call must be from a live number (when you call it back it connects you with the company that called);

  • the caller or the person that answers at the number must identify the company;

  • a live company website.

With that said, happy to answer any questions you may have. I am a daily redditor, so don't be afraid to ask questions even days or weeks after this AmA concludes.

Side note: While I do practice in other areas (such as Fair Debt Collection Practices work), and I'm happy to take questions on those, I want to first give a shout out to /u/1800NotFair who has previously done an AmA on debt collector harassment.

Disclaimer Nothing in this post or my answers should be construed as legal advice. No inquiries or questions should be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.

Edit 1: I am working through all the questions slowly but surely. This is my first AmA and I'm falling a bit behind but I'm here. Where's Victoria? Oh wait...

Edit 2: As of this edit (4:10 PM eastern), I am approximately 100 questions behind. But I'm still plugging away

Edit 3: 4:47 PM and I'm 72 questions behind. Still going!

Edit 4: Still here at 6:03. 270 comments behind. Good news though is my girlfriend decided to go get takeout for us since I have to answer your questions. I consider that a win.

Edit 5: Taking a break to give my hands a break and eat some dinner. I will be back shortly.

Edit 6: 6:43, back at it.

Edit 7: I'm still here at 7:47 but I'm going to need to start being more selective in answering questions for now (and I'll try to come back and answer the ones I missed over the weekend and into next week). My wrist is actually starting to hurt. Please don't take offense if I don't get to yours tonight!

Edit 8: 8:54. I'm going to shut it down for the night, but like I said, I'm a regular redditor, so keep the questions coming and I'll answer, and also do my best to answer the ones I missed. As always, don't hesitate to PM me or email me. Thanks so much for all the interests and questions. Maybe next time we can discuss my new film RAMPART.

If you're curious where I'm going, this little guy is asking for his walk.

Edit 9: 7/11, 8:48 AM - going back through for about an hour to answer some of the questions I missed.

Also, a few things that keep coming up:

  • Calls from Rachel/Tiffany/Etc Card Services, Solar, Google Business Listings are usually scams.
  • When I say "scam" I don't mean just trying to steal your money, but I also include companies that are hiding their true identity to an extent they're usually not worth pursuing.

Comments: 2353 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

fallinouttadabox1198 karma

How well do you know my girl Rachel with card holder services?

GlapLaw987 karma

I hate her. So much. She calls me regularly too.

RazgrizSeed69 karma

Seriously, fuck these people. If I ever meet the person that owns this scam, I will bash them in the nuts with their own server until they stop breathing.
On a side note, would you defend me if I got caught?

GlapLaw272 karma

Just wake sure you wear a glove that's a little too small.

Derminator08552 karma

Ok so long story short:

About a year ago I called in to an ad I heard on the radio for "Free guaranteed lock picks with Jonathon Stone, sports gambling expert" for shits and giggles. I called, they wanted me to actually pay for this "free pick" and I told them to fuck off. Ever since then on about a weekly basis I'll get phone calls & text messages from different phone numbers saying to call back or text a code to whatever number to get free picks. Every text I get I reply "Stop contacting me", every phone call I get I tell them to stop calling me (I even had the guy on my phone tell me once that it's my fault because I called them first). I've gone as far as to block the numbers contacting me, but each week I'm being contacted by a different number. Anything I can do about this?

GlapLaw460 karma

Do these numbers link back to any legitimate company? Can you link them to Jonathon Stone? If not, the best you can do is report these numbers and calls to the FCC/FTC and hope they act.

rmtobin01219 karma

I cannot get freedom mortgage to stop calling me. I've called them to be on their do not call list and get calls to my cell phone 3+ times per day. I had my phone stop having them ring through to me but still get notified of them calling

GlapLaw349 karma

If this is really Freedom Mortgage, you might very well have a TCPA claim if these calls are going to your cell phone.

Richard_Grimes441 karma

Are you wary about calling your clients too much?

GlapLaw474 karma

I'm not, because I have their consent to call pursuant to our representation agreement. But I would be wary about calling someone I don't know in order to solicit business -- not just because of the TCPA, but because it'd land me in hot water with ethics boards.

Somewhat related, though: I am very wary about debt collection. Seeing how easy it is for companies to violate the laws about debt collection, I won't touch it, and always get another company or law firm involved if I need to collect a debt (primarily a default judgment).

Stink_Snake167 karma

[deleted]

GlapLaw66 karma

There's a lot of guys like that. Some are bad, and make bad law. Others are pretty solid and do their homework.

deafy_duck367 karma

What about businesses being solicited? I get solicitors calling sometimes three times a day to "update my google business listing", even though it's fine. I've been connected to a live person before to tell them to stop calling, and they still won't.

GlapLaw344 karma

These google business listings are typically scams, unfortunately.

deafy_duck157 karma

Yeah I figured, the numbers always changed too. Is there anything a business can do to stop that? It seems a simple "stop fucking calling me" won't cut it anymore.

GlapLaw233 karma

Hope the government catches up to them. Block the numbers they call from. Otherwise, silently rage against them like the rest of us.

thefoolofemmaus216 karma

Jeremy, you're doing God's work, and I want to buy you all of the beer. On to my question.

CONSENT CAN BE REVOKED

How does one do this? There is a timeshare in Branson, MO that every few months decides to call me every day for a week trying to get me to sign up. I have tried talking to managers, asking to be removed, and uttering just the vilest curses I can think of at them. Nothing works.

(Side note: has anyone else noticed telemarketers are getting more thick skinned? It used to be I could tell one to jack off with sandpaper and they'd hang up. Nowadays, nothing I can think to say fazes them.)

GlapLaw154 karma

Revocation of consent is a fairly new area of litigation, and we're currently awaiting the formal FCC opinion on this issue.

Most courts that have said consent can be revoked have not provided guidance on how it can be revoked.

However, at last month's FCC meeting, where the commission voted to strengthen the TCPA and confirm that people can indeed revoke consent, it was suggested that consent may be revoked in "any reasonable way." But the formal and official written opinion has not yet been published.

That said, if you've called and asked to be removed, especially multiple times, that's a case I think you'd have a strong argument that you adequately revoked consent.

wr3ckag3185 karma

Here's a good one for you.

My dad keeps receiving student loan collection calls for a woman he doesn't know. The person in debt likely gave them a fake number that just so happened to belong to him. He has made it clear several times that they have the wrong number, and that he does not know the person they are trying to reach, but they still call, although not often - maybe once every couple of months. When they call, they are very demanding about the debt my father owes... even though his name is Eric, and the person whose debt they're calling about is named China.

Is there any recourse here? I know that the FDCP rules have something against incorrectly representing the amount of debt owed... would that be a basis for a lawsuit here, since the collector has told my father that he owes them money when he actually does not?

GlapLaw184 karma

He may actually have a TCPA claim if the calls are going to his cell phone. Wrong number calls fall under the TCPA, even if someone else gave your dad's number. This is particularly so since your dad told them they had the wrong number.

As for the FDCPA, it depends on who is calling. If it is the actual student loan company, the FDCPA doesn't apply (only applies to original creditors; some state laws do extend to original creditors however). If it's a third-party collection service, the most he'd have a claim for is harassing calls, but it's not clear that one call every few months would rise to that level.

nanochic30 karma

Is there a time limit in place for how long ago debt harassment calls were made? I used to get called upwards of 5 times a day by some debt collectors for a person I've never heard of (most likely gave them a false number that happened to be mine). Every time I tried telling them they had the wrong number, they would hang up on me. When I called back, sometimes it would go to a robot. Other times it would be a person or voicemail. I would tell them they had the wrong number but I kept getting called. The numbers would change, but only the last two digits, so I ended up blocking the numbers to stop the harassment.

It's gotten less bad lately. Now it's only once a month, if that. But it started in late 2013 and was really bad through mid-late 2014.

GlapLaw17 karma

TCPA statute of limitations (the time in which you can bring a claim) is typically four years, so under that, you'd still be able to bring a claim if you were so inclined. You'd need to remember the name of the debt collection agency though, of course, and ideally their number, how many calls (roughly), etc.

BuffaIoChicken174 karma

The Red Cross will not. Stop. Calling me. I've asked them to stop, I've told them I've moved, and they keep calling me, between 4-8 times a week. I just stopped picking up. Do I have any recourse? It's been about 2 years this has been going on, all from a branch of the Alabama Red Cross. It's crazy.

GlapLaw169 karma

To your cell phone? If so, you might have a claim. How many total calls?

The only issue is the ethics of suing the Red Cross. I don't know if I could do it, even if there's money there, because I'd feel kind of bad taking their money when they do so much good with it.

BuffaIoChicken119 karma

To my personal cell phone.. Probably a total of 200+ calls over 2 years. I don't really want to take their money either, I just want them to stop! There is something really unsettling about getting that many calls about people asking for your blood. They even call when I say I've just donated with them or elsewhere!
Thanks for doing this AMA, As you can see I've been wanting to ask someone about this for quite some time.

GlapLaw230 karma

Good news: 200 calls over 2 years to your cell phone could be $100,000 to $300,000 in damages.

Bad news: It's $100,000 to $300,000 from the Red Cross.

GlapLaw129 karma

Oof. Maybe I need to dig a little deeper into them.

aryst0krat101 karma

Should sue them and donate (some of?) the proceeds to the Red Cross afterwards. That way you presumably get them to stop calling with a serious financial threat, and get (most of?) the money back to them in the end. Like a big monetary slap on the wrist, haha.

GlapLaw156 karma

That's...not a half-bad idea. Or donate it to another disaster relief charity.

NotAModBro46 karma

Isnt that also a tax right off? So its a double win.

GlapLaw149 karma

[AMA Request] Tax Attorney.

twerksgiving39 karma

I have a similar issue with the Red Cross. 4-5 calls to my cell phone a DAY, even on weekends. If I've told them multiple times to stop, is there really anything else I can do? They don't even leave proper voicemails anymore, just 10 seconds of silence. It's been driving me crazy for the better part of a year.

GlapLaw58 karma

What you may want to do is find their headquarters and send a certified letter asking them to stop calling your number [#]. If, after that point they don't stop, then an attorney might have less qualms about suing them. I had no idea it was that bad. Are we sure the calls are actually from the Red Cross?

twerksgiving38 karma

They identify as the Red Cross when I answer, and I googled the number and it was for the headquarters for my region or whatever they call it. I will definitely look into sending a letter and speak with my attorney if that doesn't work. Thanks so much for doing this AMA, it is very informative.

GlapLaw31 karma

No problem. I find that most people know these calls are annoying, but not that they're illegal.

Redeemd75 karma

Im pretty sure they collect your blood and sell it. I remember reading this somewhere. I don't think the red cross is as helpful and great as many people are lead to believe. That is just my 2 cents.

GlapLaw85 karma

If I can be convinced of this, then I'd feel less bad about suing them!

Thought there's also the PR angle to consider. You'd be that guy who sued the Red Cross.

the_cannoli69 karma

I'd be that that guy if it exposed harassment. No "noble" company with ideals to 'alleviate human suffering', should be harassing people for any matter, blood or not. Anything can be spun the wrong or right way now-a-days depending on the source.

If no one takes a stand, then it's society consenting to this behavior. Just my opinion on the matter.

GlapLaw45 karma

I'm not at all disagreeing with you. It's harassment and needs to be stopped. The question is the best way to do it.

too_many_barbie_vids60 karma

You wouldn't feel bad about suing them if you had personally seen the way they treated displaced residents during the ice storm carnage here in TN. People were treated like criminals by those workers just for not being able to stay in their homes with no power, heat or water. Donors (I know this bit because I attempted to donate blankets and hot cocoa) were told that their donations were worthless if not in cash as they couldn't take them per supervisors order. No one got cash help from them. All the beds/bedding came from the church that hosted them. All the food and comfort items came from another local non profit. All my information came from talking to them to try and figure out where to take my donations during that time.

GlapLaw52 karma

Maybe I need to do more research on them. My short hand has been "Red Cross = good." But always open to evidence challenging my opinion.

orangejulius157 karma

I've defended a number of frivolous TCPA claims. One of which resulted in the opposing party (who was an attorney going pro se) as vexatious.

There appears to be rampant abuse of the TCPA statute where someone will go online and use proxies, sign up anonymously to be called by mom and pop businesses, then sue them when they get 2 or more phone calls. They usually plead about 50K and then try to settle for around 10K.

They do this because it's cheaper to plead out for 10K that it is to go forward with the lawsuit. The attorneys who facilitate them, in my experience, immediately engage in scorched earth tactics to bleed the business out financially through deliberately expensive litigation strategies.

Have you ever suspected any of your clients of doing this? Have you seen other attorneys facilitate this scam? What are your opinions on these scams?

GlapLaw217 karma

I have not heard of any scams to this degree. I have had heard of "scams" where people will play coy or mislead a wrong number caller that they might not actually have the wrong number, rack up a large number of calls, then sue.

I have not suspected any of my clients of doing this scam, or the one you presented. It's for a few reasons. First, I make sure to ask my clients if they ever consented and if so, did they ever ask the caller to stop. Second, I don't sue mom & pop businesses, if I can help it.

I did not get into this business to bankrupt or ruin or extort companies, especially mom & pop. Not only does that make no financial sense, but I'm a small business owner myself, and I understand the blood, sweat, and tears poured into it. To risk your business over some phone calls seems harsh. And even with non-mom & pop defendants, if I bring a class action, and the defendant produces documentation that shows they truly cannot pay a class claim, I'm willing to settle it out individually.

Part of being a good lawyer, in my opinion, is not only zealously advocating for your client, but attempting to limit collateral damage, if possible.

As for what I think about such scams -- well, they're scams, and they're taking advantage of one of the most consumer friendly laws out there, which is only going to screw over truly harassed consumers if it becomes too rampant and the law gets changed.

Bishm120 karma

Question! I received a text message from my student loan company that read, "I am at the movies." When I called the number I discovered a representative greeting me. I thought they were trying to bait me into calling them with a text from an unknown number. Is this illegal? Im just really tired of their shaddy tactics and practices.

GlapLaw125 karma

This would possibly be illegal if you didn't give them consent, but I'm skeptical the text actually came from your student loan company. This would be the first time I've heard of this kind of behavior. Is it possible there was a glitch in the matrix phone system that made that text show up from a different number than it actually came from?

mkautzm94 karma

Hi Jeremy!

There seems to have been this developing trend where a company calls my cell phone, lets it ring once, and then hangs up. If you call them back, they tell you that 'you are qualified to win a Alaskan Cruise! Just say on the line and...'

I'm on the Do Not call list so does that kind of stuff fall under TCPA stuff?

GlapLaw61 karma

That would arguably count as telemarketing under the TCPA, since what counts as telemarketing asks more about the purpose of the call. So this kind of call would likely fall under the TCPA.

exjentric85 karma

For almost 10 months I'd say I've been receiving 1-3 calls A DAY from fucking "Prophet Manasseh". They're recorded calls, sometimes different, and they alternate between 800 numbers and various different numbers using different area codes. It's infuriating, especially since I'm job hunting; when I see a number I don't recognize, I get my hopes up. In the message, they do give a number to call to supposedly get your name removed from their list, but I'm really hesitant to even call that; everything about it just feels so scammy and awful, and I'm not sure if I would be removed from all their lists, since they use a number of numbers, and of course, I have no idea how they got my number in the first place.

GlapLaw82 karma

On your cell phone? How many times have they called? I've heard about these guys before, and they seem to be pretty bad when it comes to TCPA compliance.

It can't really hurt to call the opt out number they've given, if you haven't already. It's not necessary, since you never gave them your number in the first place, but it also makes them look even worse should you decide to sue them over this.

exjentric38 karma

Yes, on my cell phone. Countless number of times, not a day goes by without a call. I've done some googling, and there have been some accounts wherein people call the opt-out number, then later get a call from that number. This writer's experience is mine to a T. Considering Manasseh's website actually publishes their DNC policy, I know they're very slippery.

GlapLaw21 karma

That article is paywalled unfortunately.

It sounds like you might have a TCPA claim, but I have no idea about the location or finances of this company to know if it'd be something worth pursuing.

JimmyTorpedo78 karma

I always get this phone call around 9:30 PM from a kid who keeps asking me if "Al is there, last name Coholic?" Drives me bonkers, I swear if I ever find out who it is...I work in a bar btw...HELP?

GlapLaw165 karma

Depends. Is your refrigerator running?

-Hugh Jass.

ServantofProcess55 karma

Other lawyer here, but I don't do this kind of work. Two Qs:

1) Hourly, flat, or contingency for this stuff?

2) So I'm consenting to being called whenever I give my # to a company?

GlapLaw61 karma

1) Contingency for TCPA work. My take is costs + 1/3 of the settlement or judgment. So, in the case of the woman who won $229,500, my cut would have been my costs + $76,500.

2) Sort of. If you give your number to a company and they call you with informational texts (non-telemarketing), that's often been found to be consent. However, if they're telemarketing, giving your number alone was not enough. On top of that, it it gets tricky with debt collection. If you give your number when you open the account they're calling about ("in connection with the transaction resulting with the debt owed"), that's consent. But if you don't, but give it later for an unrelated reason, and they start calling about that debt, that has been found not to be consent to call about that debt.

jdcooktx46 karma

Why are land lines and cell phones treated differently?

GlapLaw71 karma

This is a good question, and one I should probably definitively know the answer to, but I don't.

My hunch is that it's because the law was enacted in 1991 at a time when landlines were ubiquitous and cell phones were rare and very personal (and more expensive, and often pay per call or minute). So calls to cell phones were much more strictly regulated.

The industry has also lobbied a lot of exemptions to landline calling that didn't originally exist (e.g. debt collector calls to landlines are now OK).

LadyMacDownvote26 karma

The FCC explained why land lines and cell phones are different in a robocalling case last year, Dialing Services.

Quoting the FCC:

Congress set different boundaries for calls to wireless devices than it set for other communications. In this regard, Congress permitted certain types of prerecorded voice messages or artificial voice calls to landlines even without the consent of the called party but granted no such latitude regarding wireless devices. Given the legislative history of the TCPA, Congress’ intent with respect to calls to mobile phones is clear: “The bill would accomplish the following . . . ban all autodialed calls, and artificial or prerecorded calls, to emergency lines and paging and cellular phones.”

The Commission adopted rules implementing the TCPA in Section 64.1200 of the Commission’s rules (Rules). The Commission recognized Congress’ clear intent to give greater protection to wireless phones than to landlines, and adopted rules that effectively mirrored the statutory protections. As the FCC explained:

Congress found that automated or prerecorded telephone calls were a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls. Moreover, such calls can be costly and inconvenient. The Commission has long recognized, and the record in this proceeding supports the same conclusion, that wireless customers are charged for incoming calls whether they pay in advance or after the minutes are used. Wireless subscribers who purchase a large “bucket” of minutes at a fixed rate nevertheless are charged for those minutes, and for any minutes that exceed the “bucket” allowance. This “bucket” could be exceeded more quickly if consumers receive numerous unwanted telemarketing calls.

As the Commission noted above, Congress understood that consumers feel the sting of unwanted robocalls both to their privacy and their pocketbook.

GlapLaw8 karma

Awesome. Thanks!

kittydiablo37 karma

So - what about those companies over in India that call posing as Microsoft tech support and then they trick people into giving them remote access to their computers where they then install the virus? Why are these companies able to run rampant without being checked?

GlapLaw50 karma

Because while what they're doing is illegal, the difficulty and cost of finding them and suing them in US courts and actually collecting far outweighs the benefit of suing. It's nearly impossible.

It's not enough to have a defendant who violated the law; you need a defendant who can be sued.

The best thing to do is to report these scammers to the FTC/FCC and your state attorney general.

dsqq25 karma

Apparently, my cell number used to be the number for a party store and there are loads of people/companies/google who call me about pre-approved loans or advertisement "opportunities" for small businesses. What's a good way of making sure they don't call me ever again?

GlapLaw38 karma

Tell them they have the wrong number. If the same company continues to call back, write them a letter or simply sue them. If they keep calling after you sue them, well, the judge sure isn't going to be happy about that.

wonkifier22 karma

What about the GE Security systems that refuse to stop calling me (from different numbers and places, and when I try to get installtion info they hang up on me because they know I don't want the service)

Anything we can do about calls like those?

GlapLaw14 karma

These are often scammers. Or, more accurately, they're legitimate companies but hiding (very well) behind spoofed caller IDs and standardized calling programs.

jayenomics22 karma

Why are you so bad at Rocket League?

PS: This guy is....pretty solid as an attorney. (But awful at Rocket League)

GlapLaw33 karma

Thanks.

My lack of skills at Rocket League come from the fact that when I'm playing goalie, I have two teammates who are totally incapable of actually clearing the ball, and then the ball bounces real high, and I don't have any boost, and just shut up, OK?

EDIT: But I did make the top post in /r/rocketleague sooooo...where are you?

JJMcGee8320 karma

I keep getting calls from some company trying to offer me additional car warranty "because our records inform us that your car warranty is about to or may have already expired."

It's from a different number every time, the area code is often wildly different. I can't tell if it's the same company or a series of companies. I know it's some bullshit scam so I have politely told them to never call me again several times, several have told me I never told them to stop calling me. I have no idea how they have this info in their records and have never consented to having given them any of my info. Is there anything at all to be done about it?

GlapLaw19 karma

I've managed to track one set of these guys down before, but I think there are a lot of them so it may not be the same company. I'm half tempted to start suing the dealerships that are clearly selling numbers for invasion of privacy.

But if you can find out which company is calling, you may want to take it to a TCPA attorney.

Kendallhizzy20 karma

I am an idiot and put my number into a single debt consolidator website (when the news first broke before I realized what a scam it was) and they sold my number to I don't know how many companies and since then I tell them all to stop calling and also registered my number on the national do not call list. Currently I receive 1-3 calls and 1 text per day and THEY JUST WON'T STOP.

How can I make them stop?!

GlapLaw28 karma

If they're legitimate companies, you can sue (even in small claims court).

If they're not, unfortunately, there's nothing that can really be done from our end. I get spam calls all the time too.

LiirFlies19 karma

What can I do about callers from overseas? In this case obvious, no pretense of morals scam types. I blocked their number after getting into a shouting match with one but I keep getting notified that calls were automatically blocked.

GlapLaw18 karma

Unfortunately, these are the kinds of calls a private attorney can't do much about. Best bet is to report them to the FTC or FCC and hope they act.

LiirFlies26 karma

I just want to get a grid and call in an airstrike.

GlapLaw45 karma

Write your congressman!

StopDataAbuse15 karma

I know in Canada there is a huge fine attached with violating DNC lists (500k I think) is there a similar thing in the states?

The call center I worked in up here got wrecked with a fine for that. They deserve it the fuckers. A target dead response just put the nber back in queue until the target asked specifically for DNC.

GlapLaw10 karma

I believe the government can fine, but I don't know the exact penalties. I'm primarily focused on private enforcement, which happens far more than the government stepping in.

Schnectadyslim12 karma

I've received no less than 100 calls from a company claiming to work with google and a credit card company. Every time I've asked to be removed. Sometimes I will go a month or two without a call but some weeks I get 10. How can you actually get them to stop!?

GlapLaw25 karma

Google business listings and Rachel from Card Services?

Two of the most notorious scam calls. Impossible to track.

Knaledge12 karma

Occasionally, I get a phone call about some sort of home security system, mentioning something about the FBI. This call comes through once every 2-3 weeks. Despite pressing a number to opt out, I continue to get these calls.

What is a typical course of action to go further in an effort to stop these seemingly phantom companies?

GlapLaw11 karma

These ones are typically scams. If you call the number back, does it connect you to a home security company? Probably not -- they spoof their caller IDs. The best course is to note as many details as you can and report them to the FTC/FCC.

nsummy11 karma

If someone is getting these illegal calls what steps should they take? Like if I am getting harrassed how can I prove it? Do I start recording calls? How can I prove that the company is telemarketing and that we aren't actually talking on the phone a few times a week?

GlapLaw10 karma

You don't need to record calls. You'd simply file a complaint (or your attorney would) that alleges what has been happening, as you claim. If they've been telemarketing, you would put in the complaint that the calls were telemarketing calls, and maybe give some facts why ("they invited me to buy their soap.") Then when you get into discovery you will be able to get information (through a process called discovery) from the company you're suing such as when they called, why, etc, which will all support your own allegations and records (such as phone records)

lostpatrol11 karma

What's your opinion of registers like NIX in Sweden that prevents companies from calling, texting or mailing you if you sign up for it? Is that something you would like to see in the US, or would that put you out of business?

GlapLaw17 karma

Actively prevents the companies from calling, or prohibits them? If the latter, we have that in the US. The problem is that it only stops the real and legitimate companies from spamming. The scams and fraudsters continue their spam.

ssweet069 karma

I have a company called Yodle calling me constantly. I can dial back and get to a human that identifies themselves. what can i do?

GlapLaw10 karma

What is Yodle? What are they calling about? Cell phone or land line? Have you asked them to stop?

Depending on that, you might have a TCPA claim, but it really does depend.

icrispyKing9 karma

I get calls every single day. Sometimes up to 20 times, during the day, during the night, while I'm at work. It's extremely frustrating and annoying. Sometimes I pick up and there is nobody on the other line, most of the time it is a foreigner telling me how I can save money on insurance. It's probably a scam of some sort and I doubt there is a website. But what can I do? Everyone tells me to just change my number but I feel like that is very inconvenient for me to do... I've tried blocking numbers, but it comes from a different number every time and things like "northern Los Angeles area" "southern San Francisco Bay Area" "New York" "Pennsylvania" come up. Different all the time. Advice? Tips? Can I sue these people?

GlapLaw12 karma

Unlikely. Based on how you've described it, it sounds like it's someone spoofing their caller ID. They're nearly impossible to track and even if you could find them, they'd be overseas or simply disappear.

So while they're illegal, there's no way to really pursue them privately. I get calls like this too. If I could sue for all of them, I'd be a very wealthy man.

WHPChris3 karma

I keep getting calls from (who knows) asking if I want to further my education and sign up for E-College Online Classes or some horsecrap. Sometimes they're automated, usually there's a person.

I also get frequent calls that "click" immediately after I pick up (different numbers, same crap) as well. I get one of these two styles daily, sometimes 3-4 times in a day from frequently different numbers.

Never willingly gave out my number, (a landline VoIP) no idea how they got it but it sure wasn't legitimate. Maybe someone sold it to them after phishing it off facebook, who knows.

Anyways, it just doesn't stop and it bothers me frequently. I haven't exactly thought how to proceed, but how should I? See if I can get a company name out of them and just track it for a few weeks until a pattern approaches, then get a lawyer? What kind of attorney should I get? EDIT Should I try to record the actual calls?

I'm not new to law, just not this kind. Didn't know I could do anything about it.

GlapLaw3 karma

The best advice is to keep a log of the numbers that call, the dates, and the company behind them, and also note if/when you revoked consent. A simple spreadsheet would work. Then if one legit company amasses a good number of calls, bring it to your lawyer.

bunnybearlover3 karma

I've been getting calls every day for the last month. I answered the first time and I got the "this is a personal business call for ____, can you verify your social security number?" I didn't want to give the number so I hung up. They call every day with different numbers(same area) and always hang up on my voice mail. I'm waiting to hear where they're from or get something in the mail before contacting them. The only bill I owe is my student loan. I suppose that's what it's from. It's a government loan though. I would expect they would contact me first. It is my cell phone. Is there something I can do?

Edit: Just a tip for anyone getting calls on their cell. There's an app called "Pf voicemail+". It unblocks private numbers and there's an option to send those or numbers outside your contact list straight to voice-mail. It works great.

GlapLaw3 karma

What happens if you call the numbers back? Do you get connected with any company? If not, spoofed callers IDs.

Regardless, never give out your SSN to an incoming caller. My rule of thumb is if someone calls me asking for SSN or other identifying information, I ask what company they are, go to that company's website, and call the number on the website before proceeding.

ArmyTrainingSir3 karma

The 2 biggest scam callers I am currently aware of are for business bridge loans wireless security systems.

The entities doing these scams typically call from IP numbers and, in some instances, setup a brief survey on their initial robo call (as an affront to sidestep the law).

When you Google the phone numbers they call from, there are ample complaints. Here is one example: http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-516-730-9965

How are these folks able to do this for years without anyone going after them??

GlapLaw3 karma

It's a matter of finding the companies behind them. They're trained not to give their real company identities. It's really, really difficult. Compounded by the government being overstretched on these kinds of things. "Do Not Call" complaints were the single biggest type of complaint received by the FCC last year.

shelboss3 karma

I work for a politician and we do targeted outreach using a system called VAN. It allows us to call thousands of people for an inexpensive rate. These calls are know as robocalls and consist of a recording of the politician giving info about town halls or upcoming events. The program says it takes out cellphone numbers, but I think we still end up calling a good amount of mobiles. We don't ask people for their phone numbers, they are provided through this software. Are we committing a crime? I've always wondered this.

GlapLaw3 karma

Not a crime in that crime suggests you might be subject to criminal penalties.

But if you are sending these calls to cell phones and didn't get consent before doing so, then these calls might subject your politician/pac/organization to a lawsuit under the TCPA.

Not legal advice

Webex22 karma

About a two years ago my grandparents passed away (within two months of each other). I was tasked with calling their alarm company and having their services shutoff, as no one was living in the house and it was being put up for sale. I called the local vendor for their alarm company to ask for basic information about how to get it shut off, and gave them my call back number. Ever since then I have been getting calls from some alarm company telling me about some special offer they have. When it first started the calls were coming from the area code that my grandparents lived in now they come from a 1-800 number, mind you I live 12 hours away from where they lived. I've asked them repeatedly to stop calling me, and have told them that I was never interested in buying an alarm in the first place. Is there anything that I can do about this?

GlapLaw2 karma

This does sound like a TCPA violation, so you may be able to sue. If you call back the 1-800 number, does it actually link you back to the alarm company that called?

smnokey1 karma

What, if any, are the most common first amendment defenses that you have to deal with? Any with teeth?

GlapLaw2 karma

I have not personally dealt with any, and every court I'm aware of to address this issue has said the TCPA is a valid time, place, manner restriction.

I think they could develop more teeth if the FCC expands the law too far.

NoPatNoDontSitonThat1 karma

I noticed you already answered a different comment claiming Google business calls are just scams.

Why are scammers not held accountable? It should be easy to link a phone number to an owner, right? Couldn't the owner of the number be hit with a fine for making unwanted calls?

GlapLaw2 karma

It's not easy. They spoof their caller IDs, often use overseas call centers, and are trained not to reveal their real company name.

qwell1 karma

A medical provider I have business with called me the other day on my cellphone.

I've given them consent to call me on my cellphone, but the call was a pre-recorded message with a "Please wait..." "Please wait..." for about 2 minutes before connecting me with an agent. This would violate the TCPA, right?

GlapLaw2 karma

Probably not, because you've given consent to call you and it does not sound like it was for telemarketing purposes. if you hadn't given consent, then yes the call might be actionable as a prerecorded call to a cell phone.

IAmBecomeGay0 karma

What are your thoughts on Peter Francis Geraci?

GlapLaw1 karma

Peter Francis Geraci

I'm not familiar with him. Should I be?

ragingjuice-1 karma

hello is champ there?

GlapLaw2 karma

hello champ this is dog.

FarmBaldwin-10 karma

[deleted]

GlapLaw5 karma

Usually around 190, but I just finished a bowl of funfetti dip & graham crackers, so probably more at this point.

FarmBaldwin-16 karma

Wow, you're a big boy. Ain't ya? How big is your penis?

GlapLaw9 karma

Tree fiddy.