What You Can Do About Unsolicited Telephone Marketing Calls and Faxes
Act (TCPA) and the
|The TCPA is a federal law that was enacted on December 20, 1991 to address consumer concerns about the growing volume of unsolicited telephone marketing calls and the increasing use of automated and prerecorded telephone calls.|
The TCPA imposes restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (these systems are also called autodialers), artificial or prerecorded voice messages, and telephone facsimile (fax) machines to send unsolicited advertisements.
The TCPA also directed the FCC to adopt regulations to protect residential telephone subscribers' privacy rights to avoid receiving telephone solicitations to which they object.
The FCC adopted rules and regulations, effective December 20, 1992, implementing the TCPA. Different rules and regulations apply to calls placed to homes and calls placed to businesses. These rules and regulations do not apply to unsolicited messages sent via E-Mail orthe Internet.
|Terms You Should Know||The terms automatic telephone dialing system and autodialer mean equipment which has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called using a random or sequential number generator and to dial such numbers.|
You have an established business relationship with a person or entity if you have made an inquiry,application, purchase or transaction regarding products or services offered by such person or entity. You may end this relationship by telling the caller that you do not want them toplace any more solicitation calls to your home.
The term telephone facsimile machine means equipment which has the capacity to transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular telephone line, or to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper.
The term telephone solicitation means the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging thepurchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person. The term does not include a call or message:
|How To Reduce The|
Number of Telephone
Solicitation Calls Placed
To Your Home
|The FCC's Do-Not-Call Rules|
The FCC's Do-Not-Call Rules require a person or entity placing live telephone solicitations to your home to maintain a record of your request not to receive future telephone solicitations from that person or entity.
You can avoid future "live" telephone solicitation calls to your home telephone number by clearly stating when you receive such calls that you want to be added to the caller's do-not-call list and do not want to receive any further solicitations from that person or entity.
The person or entity making the call must keep a record of your do-not-call request for ten years from the time of your request and may not make further telephone solicitations to your home. Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are not required to keep do-not-call lists.
Your do-not-call request should stop all calls from the person or entity placing the call. It should also stop calls from affiliated entities where, due to the identification of the caller and the product being advertised, you would reasonably expect that the request applies to affiliated entities.
Your do-not-call request applies only to the person or entity placing the call.
The FCC's do-not-call rules do not apply to calls placed to business telephone numbers. However, your state may have laws that require do-not-call lists for calls placed to business numbers.
Telephone Preference Service
You can reduce the number of telephone solicitation calls placed to your home by contacting the Telephone Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The DMA commercially publishes and markets lists of consumers who do not wish to receive solicitation calls. Your name can be added to DMA's lists by sending your name, telephone number (including the area code) and address (including the zip code) to:
Telephone Preference ServiceQuestions about the DMA's registration program should be addressed to the DMA at this address.
Registration with the DMA should reduce the number of unsolicited calls placed to your home, but may not stop all unwanted calls.
|Unsolicited Calls Placed|
To Unlisted, Non-Listed Or
|You may wonder why you continue to receive unsolicited telephone calls even though you have an unlisted, non-listed, or non-published telephone number.|
Unlisted, non-listed and nonpublished telephone numbers are not listed in telephone directories. Unlisted or non-listed numbers can be obtained from a directory assistance operator. Non-published numbers cannot be obtained from a directory assistance operator.
Here are some ways solicitators can
|Solicitor Identification||The FCC's rules require persons or entities making a telephone solicitation to your home to provide the following information: |
The telephone number provided cannot be the number of the autodialer or prerecorded message player which placed the call,and cannot be a 900 number or any other number for which charges exceed local or long distance transmission charges.
|The FCC's rules prohibit telephone solicitation calls to your home before 8 am or after 9 pm (local time at your home).|
|The FCC's rules prohibit artificial (computerized) voice or prerecorded voice calls to your home. The following types of calls are permitted: |
or Prerecorded Voice
Calls Placed to
|The FCC's rules prohibit the use of autodialers, artificial or prerecorded voice messages to call numbers assigned to: |
Calls Cannot Tie Up
Your Phone Lines
|The FCC's rules require that any prerecorded message call made using an autodialer must release your telephone line within five seconds of the notice by a telephone network signal to the caller that you have hung up.|
In some areas of the country it may take up to 25 seconds for this telephone network signal to reach the caller. Picking up the telephone receiver before this signal reaches the caller may cause some recorded messages to continue playing.
Your local telephone company can tell you if calls in your area immediately disconnect when you hang up on a prerecorded message call, or how long you must wait before picking up your telephone receiver.
The FCC's rules prohibit the use of autodialers in a way that simultaneously engages -- or ties up -- two or more lines of a multi-line business.
|Fax Messages ||Unsolicited Advertisements Sent To|
Home and Business Fax Machines
The FCC's rules prohibit the transmission of unsolicited advertise-ments to fax machines.
No person may transmit an advertisement describing the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or services to your fax machine without your prior express permission or invitation.
You have an established business relationship with a person or entity if you have made an inquiry, application, purchase or transaction regarding products or services offered by such person or entity.
If you have an established business relationship with the person or entity sending the message, an invitation or permission to receive unsolicited fax advertisements is presumed to exist.
You can end this relationship by telling the person or entity that you do not want them to send any more unsolicited advertisements to your fax machine.
Identification Required on Fax Messages
The FCC's rules require that any message sent to a fax machine must clearly mark on the first page or on each page of the message:
Actions You Can Take
If you receive the following types of calls or faxes:
|The following state offices may be able to help you in filing suit: |
State Civil Actions
States can 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's rules.
You should contact your local or state consumer protection office to determine whether or not your state has initiated civil actions.
|Contact the FCC||The FCC cannot award monetary or other damages, except under very limited circumstances. However, you may send a typed or legibly printed letter regarding suspected violations of the TCPA or the FCC's rules to: |
Federal Communications CommissionYour letter should include the information in the following checklist:
|Contact the Federal|
|If you believe you are the victim of false or deceptive telephone solicitation sales practices, you should send your complaint to: |
Federal Trade CommissionYou can also write to the Federal Trade Commission at the following address to request information about its Telemarketing Sales Rule which protects consumers from deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices:
Federal Trade CommissionInformation about the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule is also available on the Internet at the following World Wide Web Site: http://www.ftc.gov
|Contact The Federal|
Your State Attorney
|Fraudulent telephone solicitation practices complaints should be directed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or your state Attorney General's office.|
You should be able to obtain telephone numbers for these offices from the government section of your telephone directory or from directory assistance.
|Contact the United States|
Chief Postal Inspector
|Complaints regarding information or products received through the United States Postal Service in connection with fraudulent telephone solicitation practices should be addressed to: |
Consumer Notes About Unsolicited Telephone Calls
Remember to keep a copy of the unsolicited fax advertisement as evidence of receipt.
Consumer Notes About Unsolicited Advertisements
Sent to a Fax Machine
|Form Number CCB-FS003|