Robocall Used in Political Campaigns: Legal or Illegal?

robocallThe recent senate election in Alabama has been quite the talk lately. The election was so heated that both Trump and Obama have taken action to support their choice by recording robocall to Alabamians.

But wait a minute. Aren’t robocalls those annoying recorded messages that companies use to spam call people? I thought those were illegal!

Well, in some cases, yes. However, there are legal ways for people to make robocalls that are legal, just like the ones the current and the former president made.

Difference Between Legal and Illegal Robocalls

It is helpful to know the difference between the legal and the illegal robocalls in case you choose to take legal action against the ones giving you robocalls. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself by trying to sue against a perfectly legal robocall now would you? But before we dive into what makes a robocall illegal, let’s discuss what a robocall actually is.

What is a Robocall?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) considers any autodialed calls or texts or texts and pre-recorded voice calls as robocalls. The TCPA is a law that lays down the restrictions on the use of telephone equipment.

The federal law makes it so that companies can’t just call anyone, whenever they want. These rules apply to political robocalls as well. However, there are some exceptions that they have.

The Legal Robocalls

The legal robocalls are ones that abide by the rules that are listed in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The TCPA states that all political robocalls are:

  • Prohibited to cell phones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the called party’s prior express consent.
  • Prohibited to the protected telephone lines noted in the TCPA and the rules (e.g., emergency or toll-free lines, or lines serving hospitals or similar facilities), unless made with the called party’s prior express consent.
  • Permissible when made to landline telephones, even without prior express consent.

Basically, this means that no political robocalls are allowed to consumers’ cell phones without their prior express consent. The only other option would be to contact consumers via landline telephones.

The Illegal Robocalls

Opposite to the previous section, illegal robocalls violate at least one rule stated by the TCPA. On top of the rule breaking, some companies may also be making TCPA violations willingly. In this case, consumers may be eligible to receive $500 per violations the caller has made.

To see if you are eligible for compensation, contact a TCPA lawyer. They may be able to advise you on what you need to build a strong case against the callers and on what you can do to stop receiving robocalls.

How to Stop Robocalls That Are Annoying

Did you know that there are several ways for you to stop receiving robocalls? Aside from stopping illegal robocalls, you can even stop companies from giving you legal robocalls. Here are couple ways that can help you stop robocalls that are annoying.

FTC’s Do-Not-Call Registry

The Federal Trade Commission has a national Do-Not-Call Registry that prevents companies from making robocalls to certain phone numbers. If a company sees your phone number on the Registry, they may not make any telemarketing calls or robocalls to you.

So, if you are still receiving calls after being registered on the national list, the call is probably a sort of scam.

However, the Registry only prevents companies from making sales call to you. You may still receive other calls, such as a political call, debt collections calls, and other informational calls. But, if you ask the company not to call you again, they must honor your request.

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps can block calls that the FTC’s DNC Registry does not cover. There are many apps that blocks certain calls from ringing your mobile phone. Many scam calls use certain phone number format to call people from (such as using same area code and first 3-digit of your number), and the apps can detect those and prevent them from reaching your phone.

Note that not all mobile apps can block every unwanted phone calls, but they can help lessen the number of annoying calls you get on your phone.

Lawsuit

If you have tried the first 2 options but are still receiving robocalls that are illegal, you can legally make them stop by filing a lawsuit against the company that called you. You may even be entitled to receive up to $500 per TCPA violation the calls made.

To make sure if your case is strong enough to win you a case, contact a TCPA lawyer. They will be able to tell you how to stop robocalls and what you need to file the lawsuit.

Be Vigilant: Take Careful Measure to Avoid Robocalls

Just because you don’t want to receive robocalls, doesn’t mean you can be careless when confronting them. Even just answering the phone to tell them to stop can encourage companies to call you back (because you answered them).

Make sure you be careful when giving out your phone number (i.e. signing up for something). If you have questions regarding robocalls, do your research. If you want to take legal action, contact a TCPA lawyer to get advice.

Visit this site for more information about legal and illegal robocalls.

Robocall Used in Political Campaigns: Legal or Illegal?
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