When the telephone rings during dinner with your family, the telemarketing industry may seem totally without rules and regulations. However, you may be surprised to learn that there is a litany of rules regarding those unwanted telemarketing calls.
Most important is the Federal Trade Commission’s “Telemarketing Sales Rule.” Among other things, this statute established the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows you to place your number on a list which companies must consult before calling you.
Other pertinent laws regarding unwanted telemarketing include the following:
- A telemarketer is not permitted to call a person before 8:00 a.m., nor after 9:00 p.m.
- A telemarketer is required to identify what group she is calling from and disclose whether or not the call is for sales or charitable purposes.
- A telemarketer has to disclose all pertinent information about the offers, including all material terms.
- Finally, it is specifically listed that a telemarketer cannot lie to a person he calls.
Violations of these telemarketing rules are illegal and are often prosecuted successfully. The problem is that the best prosecution of unwanted telemarketing companies requires large groups of people, and citizens do not often want to be bothered with the hassle of being involved in a lawsuit.
In order to bring a claim against a pesky telemarketer, a person can bring his own suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). While this may work, it puts an individual with often limited resources against a behemoth company with vast resources. With a potential payout to be minimal for a single or even multiple illegal solicitations, this may not be worth it.
For these reasons, an aggrieved individual may prefer to retain an attorney who will find multiple victims and work with the FTC to procure a pool of money for the benefit of the plaintiffs and to punish the company, something known as a “class action,” a situation where a number of people with like claims against similar parties arising out of similar facts file a lawsuit. Such a class may be comprised of just a few people to many thousands of individuals.
In addition to the fact that Courts typically prefer the consistency and efficiency of class action lawsuits, plaintiffs benefit from the savings of time and monies that come with requesting discovery, making copies, retaining expert witnesses, and preparing for trial only one time instead of each plaintiff having to pay for these items individually.
These reasons, along with the fact that class action lawsuits typically settle for reasons such as (1) many individual claims will still have to be analyzed and defended by the defendant, a factor that will cost millions of dollars, (2) when a jury hears many victims of a defendant’s actions, it is likely to feel more emotion and award a higher payout, and (3) large companies will be harmed by the publicity of a trial where the subject is its mistreatment of hundreds or thousands of people. For these reasons, look for that attorney to represent you and others in an effort to stop this unwanted telemarketing calls.