What Is The Telephone Consumer Protection Act Of 1991?

What is the telephone consumer protection act and how can I start to enforce it? Find out here!

How many times have telemarketers called and attempted to sell you everything from credit card promotions, insurance deals, magazines, aluminum siding, and discount-calling plans interrupted your dinner? No matter how many times you politely say, "No thank you" the calls continue. Some people have reported receiving between 5 and 20 such phone calls a day! The junk mail pours in on a daily basis; promotions for credit cards, life insurance, and make-money-from home schemes. The aggravation can be overwhelming. There are things that you can do to put a stop to this harassment and unwanted phone calls and junk mail.

The first thing that you should do is to phone each one of your credit card companies, banks, credit unions, insurance companies, phone company, and long distance carriers and ask to be put on the Do Not Call List as well as asking to be removed from all mailing lists. Be sure to mention that you want not only to be removed from the company's mailing list, but the mailing lists of all the affiliates of the company as well. Some companies operate with as many as 1200 different marketing firms that represent either the parent or affiliates of the company that you initially contact. Also, notify the credit bureaus, TRW and Equifax and demand that they not sell or give your name to prospective creditors. Request that a copy of the DNC and/or the removal from the mail list documents be mailed to you. Once you have requested that each company do this, you must wait at least 6 weeks to expect a decrease in the call.

Don't expect all of the companies to follow through. If you receive further correspondence you may take legal action. The Telephone Consumer Act of 1991 (TCPA, www.telemarketin-laws.com) was signed into Congress in 1991 as Public Law 102-243 by former President Bush. This law was enacted to reduce unsolicited and harassing calls--which the United States Government views as an invasion of privacy. The Federal Public Law 102-243 maintains the following:

1.) No calls from telemarkets should be made to your residence between the hours of 8 am or after 9 PM.

2.) The company must maintain a Do Not Call (DNC) list.

3.) Your DNC request must be honored for 10 years.

4.) After requesting to be put on the DNC list, and you are called more than 1 time in a 12-month period, by the same firm or their affiliates, you make take legal action and you are entitled to $500.00 for each offense

5.) Every time that you receive a call from a telemarketer and you ask to be put on the DNC list; be sure that you log the time, date, company's name, and name of representative that you spoke with.



6.) Pre-recorded phone calls are illegal. Many years ago there was a case where a woman answered the phone and it was a pre-recorded tape selling insurance. She hung up. Within minutes, her husband had a heart attack. When the woman picked up the phone to dial 9-1-1, she found that the pre-recorded tape had not disconnected; it was still babbling about the sales pitch. She kept hanging up, but the tape would not stop. Her husband died before she has the chance to dial 9-1-1. Because of that unfortunate incident, pre-recorded calls are illegal in all states.

If you are called again by the company, call them and re-inform them that you are in fact, on the do-not-call list. Hopefully, you will have a copy of the document that they should have mailed to you, as well as your return receipt from your certified letter. This entitles you to make claim for your $500.00. Many companies have gotten smart by blocking their telephone numbers on Caller Id; so you never know who is calling until you pick up the phone. If it is one of companies calling that you had asked to put you on their DNC list, press *57. This will record the number, time and name of business should you need to plead your matter in court. Call trace costs about $5.00 in most states.

Make sure that you have a call-block on your phone and caller ID; one that will block all blocked numbers since most companies do block their numbers so you can't see who is calling.

Many companies also use an automatic dialing system that is programmed to dial several numbers at one time, with the idea that most of the numbers will have answering machines picking up calls, be busy, or will have no answer. Also, then if the pre-programmed dialing system happens to engage a party on the phone, the calls to your residence are not terminated. This is why you may pick up the phone 10 times a day and no one ever answers. If you *69, the pre-recorded number will tell you that the call is out of the calling area and not able to be given out, which makes calling them back difficult. You have the right to contact your local telephone company and demand an investigation with regard to these annoying, anonymous calls. The Phone Company is obligated to get involved and the both of you may demand your phone number be classified as Do Not Call on the calling list of the firm and it's affiliates.

All repetitive calls (after the DNC has been given to the company) are subject to the law, and therefore must pay damages. Even though most of these companies are out of state, most local courts of law will allow you to proceed with your lawsuit in the local small claims court of your area.

You may also write to: Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and demand to be taken off of their calling list. The DMA's address for telemarketing cessation is: Marketing Association (DMA) POB 9014. Farmingdale, New York 11735-9014. In your correspondence include your name, address, telephone number and social security number (as most data basis cross-match telephone numbers with SSI numbers). Mail the letter certified and with return receipt.

In dealing with junk mail, there are two things that you can do; and do them at the same time. Firstly, for every piece of junk mail that you receive, and providing that the junked has included a post-paid envelope for you to return your checks and pledges, stuff the post-paid envelope with all of the companies information, as well as the portion that contains your name and address, and mail it back to them. Writing return to sender on the envelope only ends the letter up in the dead letter office as the US Post Office gets thousands of return to sender junk mail everyday. Secondly, you can write to: Direct Marketing Association (DMA), POB 9008, Farmingdale, New York 11735-9008 and include your name, address and social security number (as junkers also cross reference your social security number with Credit Bureaus to offer you promotions on credit cards and home equity loans) and demand to remove from junk mailing lists. Send this also as a certified letter with a return receipt.

Be patient, and be sure to keep a log of all of the unwanted calls, who you spoke with, get the mailing address from that person, and follow-up! Think of how much more peaceful your life will be without these intrusive annoyances!

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