do not call

Dish Network Fined for Making Illegal Robocalls to Ohio Residents

Dish Network Fined for Making Illegal Robocalls to Ohio Residents

Dish Network was fined $280 million for using illegal robocalls to promote services in Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, and California. Dish Network was telemarketing services to consumers registered on the “Do Not Call” list, a national registry provided by the Federal Trade Commission that allows consumers to register any number to avoid receiving future robocalls from any company...

Robocalls and Junk Faxes

Robocalls and Junk Faxes

Robocalls and junk faxes are unwanted and unauthorized automated messages that are delivered to a person or company. These messages are often provided by telemarketing companies and political party campaigns. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps enforce the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to assist people in ending unwanted phone calls, text messages, and faxes.

Telephone and fax solicitation providers must receive consent from the consumer to send messages. It is illegal for solicitation companies to send out messages and use a consumers telephone minutes or fax paper and toner without permission. The TCPA requires any company sending out a solicited message to provide the name of the company, the name of the company the call is representing, a return contact phone number, and address at which the company can be reached. Phone calls are not allowed to be made before 8 am or after 9 pm.  Companies are also required to provide consumers with a do not call or do not message option to unsubscribe from the unwanted robocalls, text messages, and junk faxes. Opting out of these unwanted message must be free and available to the consumer 24 hours a day.

Robocalls and junk faxes are not allowed to contact a consumer after unsubscribing from a message. Consumers are instructed to record the phone number or the address of the distributor to help ensure any future unwanted messages are not from the same contact. If the messages continue to be delivered from the same provider after unsubscribing, then the consumer is protected under the TCPA and can contact a consumer lawyer for assistance.

Consumers can file a complaint about an unwanted and unauthorized telephone message through the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. The National Do Not Call Registry is provided by the Federal Trade Commission and consumers can register any number to help prevent future robocalls.

There are automated messages that do not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Messages from schools regarding delays, closings and emergencies do not violate the TCPA. Prerecorded messages and faxes regarding future medical visits and prescriptions pick ups are usually authorized by the consumer when visiting a medical professional. Flight information is also often not a violation of the TCPA.

 

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State Attorneys General Urge Telecom Companies to Offer Call Blocking Technology

State Attorneys General Urge Telecom Companies to Offer Call Blocking Technology

The Ohio Attorney General along with forty-four other state Attorneys General, wrote a letter to five telecom companies urging them to make call blocking technology available to consumers. The Ohio Attorney General’s office claimed consumers called their office over 1,400 times to complain about “Do Not Call” violations in 2014 alone, prompting the organization to reach out to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Century Link. Telemarketing and robocalling are a thorn in the side of consumers that has existed for decades, and there have been several attempts by Congress to address this issue for consumers, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

This is not the first time that state Attorneys General have urged telecom companies to offer call blocking technology to consumers. Many of these companies maintained that such technology could potentially violate existing regulations put in place by the FCC. In an attempt to correct this last September, thirty-nine Attorneys General asked the FCC to adopt a clarification to the rules in question. In June 2015, the FCC obliged and noted that call blocking technology is completely legal for these providers to offer.

Dozens of third party apps are already on android and apple devices that offer such a service, which companies such as Verizon have already cited as a reason that no action needs to be taken. However, these apps are not sufficiently popular to stem the massive tide of complaints that consumer protection agencies like the Ohio Attorney General’s office receive on a regular basis. The FCC and Attorneys General encouraged these telecom companies to either work with these third party developers or offer their own call blocking services.

However, companies such as Verizon are concerned that offering such call blocking technology could exacerbate an already present problem known as spoofing. Telemarketing companies, in an attempt to circumvent some of the more popular call blocking technologies that already exist, falsify their caller ID information in order to trick the system into letting a call through. Verizon claims that they get thousands of complaints every year from individuals who had their numbers used in such a manner.

Doucet & Associates has many attorneys who are well versed in consumer law. Most consumers are unaware that there are several protections in the law that can offer them a defense against these annoying and unwarranted phone calls. Laws such as TCPA actually make unwanted telemarketing and robocalls illegal, and the Do Not Call list is much more than just a myth. If your cell phone number has illegally fallen into the hands of telemarketers and you constantly receive these calls, call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219 and find out how we can help you take your number back.

 

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