Robo calls to your new cell phone number violate the TCPA

“I just got a new cell phone number and I’m getting robo calls.  Is this illegal and how do I stop these annoying calls?”

This is illegal.  There is a fairly straightforward way to stop this type of harassment against you and your cell phone.  You know, we keep our cells with us most of the day.  So to have a company blowing up your cell phone with a robo call (autodialed call or computer call) is very annoying.

TCPA protects you from robo calls

The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) is a very powerful federal law that says it is illegal to call someone’s cell phone with a robo dialer unless that person gave permission to do so.

The price these lawbreakers must pay is $500 or up to $1500 per call.  We have had cases with hundreds of calls so the money adds up quickly.

But so few people sue that these companies that they feel like they can get away with blowing up phones with no thought and no fear of having consequences.

Robo calls are illegal unless you gave permission to call your cell phone

So the test is “did you give permission to the company to call your cell phone?”

If you did, then the calls are normally legal.

If you did not, then the calls are illegal.

Since a new phone number, it wasn’t you that gave permission

You have a brand new phone number and before you give out that number to any companies, you are getting robo dialed calls.  So obviously you did not give permission for these companies to call your new cell phone number.

The companies argue that once the former owner gives them permission, it doesn’t matter that the ownership of the number has changed — they think they can still blow up the phone without consequences.  This is as dumb as someone who had “permission” to go into a house when Bob and Sue owned it thinking they can still go in the house whenever they want now that Jack and Diane own it.

That’s called trespassing and its a great way to get shot.

But the TCPA does give companies a chance to avoid being sued when ownership of a number changes.

TCPA gives robo dialers one free “bite at the apple”

One call is a “freebie” — no liability for it.

But the calls after are illegal.

Is this fair or unfair?

Well, the companies can know when phone numbers change ownership.  They simply choose to not ask — thinking this gives them “plausible deniability”.  But go back to our example of the house — when it is sold, someone doesn’t have permission to enter the house just because the former owner said it was OK.

The moral for businesses is to not use robo dialed calls or, if they are going to use them, then monitor the change in ownership of the numbers.  If you haven’t spoken with the customer in a while, call them manually.  Send a letter.  Do almost anything other than just blowing up their phone with your eyes closed.

OK, now you know the company is breaking the law by attacking your phone with these incredibly annoying calls — what do you do now?

First, document the calls and by calls I mean missed calls also — not just when you talk to whoever is calling but when your phone rings regardless of whether you speak with them.  Document the calls on paper and digitally.

Document the calls on paper

Write down the following on paper:

  • Date of call
  • Time of call
  • Length of call or whether it was a missed call
  • Phone number calling
  • Name of company calling
  • Was there a voicemail left (and if so, save it)

Having this written down on paper is very helpful.  Now you can do this literally with pen and paper or you can create a chart or spreadsheet or whatever works for you.  But have a physical copy of this.

And a digital copy by scanning it or saving it Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, etc. so it is in the cloud.  And have screenshots as well . . . .

Document the calls with screen shots

Go through your phone and for every single call — received, answered, missed, etc. take a screenshot.  So that it shows the date and time and phone number of who called you (along with length of call if you spoke with them).

Then you can email each call to yourself or to a Gmail account (or another cloud based account) and you’ll have a record of the calls.  These companies love to lie about the number of calls so you need to be able to prove the calls.

Remember each call can result in $500 or up to $1500 in damages paid to you.  Despite these consequences, these companies have figured out they still make more money than the few lawsuits cost them.  So we need to sue them more so they will finally get the message to stop doing this.

If you want to know your options, get in touch with us and we’ll help you any way we can . . . .

Feel free to contact us and we will give you our opinion on suing the robo dialer.

You can reach us at 205-879-2447 and we’ll be happy to speak with you.  Or feel free to click the button below.  We’ll help you discover your options and what is the best move for you to make right now.
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John Watts

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