Unsolicited telephone calls and text messages are annoying, intrusive, and can even cost consumers money. Federal law places strict limitations on the types of telemarketing and advertisements that can be made via telephone calls, text messages and faxes. As of October 16, 2013, all of the following rules apply even if you have previously conducted business with a company, such as buying or renting goods or services. Consents to receive advertising calls or texts are valid only if they are given in writing after October 16, 2013. If you have not given this type of consent, telemarketers must follow these rules.
Under the law, telemarketers are not permitted to call residences before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm, use “auto-dialers” to make calls, or make calls that use recorded messages instead of a live person. If you have signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers must respect your wishes and not make telemarketing calls to your home or cell phone number. When they call, telemarketers are required to provide their name, the business they are working for, and either an address or telephone number where you can reach that business. When a telemarketer calls, a valid telephone number must appear on any caller ID display.
In addition, there are certain types of phone numbers that telemarketers are banned from calling with unsolicited advertising, including numbers for hospital rooms, health care facilities, elderly care homes, and numbers where the person receiving the call is charged for the call. Telemarketers are also prohibited from sending unauthorized advertising faxes to any fax number.
Finally, all of these rules apply to text messages. Businesses and telemarketers are prohibited from sending text messages to anyone who has not previously agreed in writing to receive texts.
Documentation of unwanted solicitations is crucial, including time, date, originating phone number, and company sending the solicitation, if known. The law provides for monetary damages for unsolicited calls and texts, even if you are not being charged for them. If you believe that you have received illegal telephone, fax, or text solicitations, contact the attorneys of Pelton & Associates, PC to discuss your legal options.