If it seems like you are getting more robo-calls, it’s probably not your imagination. Total robo-calls in America hover between three and five billion per month. The highest count in recent years was October of 2019, when 5.6 billion were tallied. That’s 7.6 million robo-calls per hour, and 17 robo-calls per person that month.
An important distinction: the law considers any call made with an autodialer as a robo-call, even those that connect you to a live person. Sometimes there is a brief “please hold” type message, or just a dead-air pause before you are connected to a live person. Sometimes the connection relies on a receiver’s voice to activate. Improvements in software and internet speeds have led to unprecedented autodialing capabilities. One system can dial hundreds of thousands per hour, which partly explains why you are getting so many.
The other reason why is because a large portion of them are crooks. According to authorities, 40% of robocalls are outright scams. Criminals in other countries target Americans knowing that they are safe from legal repercussions. In a recent month, the most popular scams were health-related scams and car warranty scams.
The FCC identifies phone-scam robocalls as their top priority, though readily admits their powers against overseas criminals are limited. What they have done is given the phone companies increased ability to verify caller-ID locations and enhanced blocking for repeat offenders. You can contact your phone provider about their protection plans to limit these calls. Many providers have free options.
Where taking legal action is most likely to help you is when the unwanted calls are coming from a legitimate business or debt collector and without your consent. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits telemarketing calls made after 9 pm or before 8 am, calls made to numbers on the Do-Not-Call Registry, and calls made to cell phones. Continuing to call after you have rescinded consent or instructed them to stop can be grounds for a lawsuit. To show they mean business, the federal government recently passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act which raised the amount plaintiffs can sue robocall offenders from $1500 to $10,000 per call.
Numerous large corporations have active cases being built against them right now. The powerful autodialing software that allows them to make huge numbers of calls can translate to huge numbers of payouts when companies violate the law. In a recent case, Dish Network was forced to pay $61.5 million to thousands of individuals that were solicited in spite of being on the Do-Not-Call Registry. Plaintiffs received payouts of $1200 per call. This lawsuit was started by one man who knew the repeated calls from Dish Network were in violation of the law.
If you are the target of illegal robo-calls, consider taking action yourself. The staff of consumer protection attorneys at The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman specialize in cases of robocall abuse, violations of the TCPA, and enforcement of the TRACED Act. Talk to our team of experts today about how you can fight back against illegal robocalls.