TCPA — Damages for illegal calls to your cell phone

TCPA — Damages for illegal calls to your cell phone

What are the possible damages under the TCPA?

TCPA -- Damages for illegal calls to your cell phoneWe can get statutory damages if there’s an illegal call.

We’ll talk about what an illegal call is, but for an illegal call that is not intentional, we can get statutory damages.

That means we do not have to show that we were actually injured.

In other words, we don’t have to show we lost a job or lost money.

It’s almost as a punishment thing to say, “Company A, if you violate this law again against Joe (or Robert, or Jason, etc.) then you owe this money.”

It’s up to $500 per call, which is very different than, for example, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, in which you can get statutory damages of a maximum of $1000, but that’s no matter how many violations there are.

This is per violation.

The statutory damages can be $1500 per call…

It can even be up to $1500 per call.

The test is if the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this section – there is a lot dispute over what that means exactly – it gives you an idea that, even if it’s not willful and not a knowing violation (what we would call a negligent violation) that could still be $500 per call.

But if you can show that it was intentional, now you’re talking about it being up to $1500 per call.

That is pretty significant.

“Put that to the calculator…”

One time I had a client who I was talking to about settling a case. I gave him, “Here’s what they’re offering. Here’s what I think you should take.”

He said, “I’m going to have to put that to the calculator.” I thought that was a great expression.

Literally in this type of case, you can do that.

We take the example of 10 calls.

If we’re at the $500 mark, then that can be $5000 in statutory damages.

If it’s triple, then obviously it could be up to $15,000.

What if we have 100 calls?

We’ve had cases with 300-400 calls.

If you’ve ever gotten on the receiving ends of one of these autodialers or robo-dialers, a lot of times they’ll call you once a day, twice a day, or three or four times a day.

So it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to get up to 100 calls.

Well, that may be $50,000 in damages.

If it’s intentional or willful, it could be as much as $150,000.

We’ve had lawyers on the other side who we’ve sued and we said, “We’ve had a tremendous number of calls – several hundred calls,” and they say, “Okay, John, let’s see if we can get you a couple thousand dollars on this.”

I’ll say, “Actually, you’re going to pay six figures on this case.”

They’re in shock and disbelief, and then they look at the law and understand that this really can be significant.

Lawyers five or six years ago, when we filed these cases, didn’t really understand them.

Now I think the defense lawyers understand these types of cases better.

The point is, it can be very significant in terms of damages that are owed to you when these guys break the law — the TCPA — when harassing you on your cell phone.

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We represent consumers all over Alabama.

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Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

-John G. Watts

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