|Telephone Consumer Protection Act|
|CITATION||47 U.S.C. § 227|
In 1991, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as the first federal law regulating the actions of legitimate telemarketers. The TCPA’s purpose is to strike a balance between protecting the rights of consumers and allowing businesses to use telemarketing effectively. Regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the TCPA requires telemarketers to comply with a number of restrictions, including the following:
|DATA COVERED||The legislation and regulations do not regulate the processing of personal data. The legislation does, however, protect the privacy of individuals in their homes by limiting when certain marketing actions can be taken.|
Calling a consumer on two or more occasions within any 12-month period after they have requested not to be called is a violation of the TCPA and the FCC rule. Using an artificial or prerecorded voice to call a residence, an unsolicited advertisement on a telephone facsimile machine or auto-dialed calls that simultaneously engage two or more phone lines at a multi-line business are also violations.
Report violations to the solicitor or business directly using the telephone number or address provided during the call. If that doesn't stop the calls, and the state in which the call was made permits, a suit can be filed in state court to stop such calls and/or sue for monetary loss. The penalty is five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation or actual monetary loss, whichever is greater. States can also initiate a civil action in federal district court against any person or entity that engages in a pattern or practice of violations of the TCPA or the FCC rules.
The TCPA creates a private right of action allowing individuals, businesses, and state officials to bring a case in court for minimum damages of five hundred dollars ($500) and up to one thousand five hundred dollars ($1500) in damages where the telemarketer "knowingly" or "willfully" violated the TCPA. 47 U.S.C. § 227 (b)(3), (f)(1).