The recent midterm election season was an intense time for numerous campaign ads on television, the radio, and your phone. This cycle was so heated that many political campaigns took action to encourage favorable votes that they recorded robocalls to numerous states and communities. While these types of calls are annoying, they are not necessarily illegal or violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
What’s the Difference Between Legal and Illegal Robocalls?
If you decide to take legal action against these types of calls, it’s important to understand the difference between legal and illegal calling tactics.
A robocall is defined by the TCPA as any auto-dialed call, text, or pre-recorded voice call. Federal law sets forth restrictions on using equipment like autodialers to make these types of calls, as well. If a company abides by the rules enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the TCPA, then it is a legal robocall.
Specifically, a political robocall must follow these rules:
- Cannot call cell phones, or other mobile devices without consent by the party before the call
- Cannot call protected telephone lines outlined by the TCPA, such as emergency or toll-free lines, without prior permission
- Can call landline telephones with or without prior consent
Political robocalls to cell phones may not occur without express written consent from those receiving the calls, leaving landlines as the main avenue of contact.
Methods to Stop Political Campaign Calls
There are several ways to stop unsolicited calls whether legal or not. Here are few methods to prevent those annoying calls:
FTC’s Do Not Call Registry
It’s important to take the first step in the prevention of unwanted campaign calls by registering your number on the Do Not Call Registry. This registry, run by the FTC, prevents companies from making robocalls to specific phone numbers. If your number is on the registry, the company sees it and should not make calls to you. If you receive calls after registering, they might be a scam.
Listing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry only prevents companies from making sales calls to you. You might still receive political campaign robocalls, but if you ask for them to stop calling, they are required to comply with your request.
Use a Mobile App to Block Them
Numerous mobile applications can block calls that the FTC’s registry cannot. Scammers use specific number formats to call people, like using the same area code or prefix of your phone number. Apps can detect these and stop them from calling your phone. Of course, not all apps will block every single unwanted call, but they can cut down on how many you receive.
Be Careful to Avoid Them
Try to avoid unwanted calls altogether by refusing to answer to numbers you don’t recognize. Sometimes, by just answering the phone you are encouraging them to continue trying to reach you.
Hire a TCPA Attorney
If you tried the suggested options above and are still getting calls that are illegal, it might be time to seek out an experienced lawyer to help file suit against them. Breaking the rules of the TPA results in potential fines and money paid to consumers they illegally contacted. Companies have been known to break the act purposely. You may be entitled to between $500 and $1,500 per call or text violation.
If you believe that a political campaign has robocalled you illegally, contact a Florida TCPA lawyer to find out if you have a case. An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on building your case and how to make the calls cease. The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi can help you stop the annoying calls and build your case. Contact us today at 1-844-JIBRAEL or contact us online to get a free case evaluation.