Constantly bombarded by unwanted robocalls? Here’s how you can fight back
Unsolicited calls from telemarketers can be a nuisance, especially if the callers won’t leave you alone. But some consumers have found a way to fight back against the callers.
Leonard Silas says that calls from bill collectors were driving him crazy, especially since the account wasn’t even his. It was his ex-girlfriend’s.
“I kept telling them, ‘Look, stop calling me.’ They would call me on my job, they would call me, I mean, all hours of the day. I mean, just blow my phone up,” Silas says. “It got to a point where I just got fed up with it.”
Silas says that sometimes he would get five or six calls a day from the bill collectors. Tired of the intrusion into his family time, Silas contacted an attorney who filed a complaint under the Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA). An arbitrator awarded Silas $142,500 for his troubles.
And while some may say that this is a large amount of money to get just because one is bothered by phone calls, Silas disagrees.
“I’d tell them, ‘You receive those phone calls and see how you’d like it.’ And then you tell me what you think at the end, because it’s very, very annoying,” he says.
Under the TCPA, consumers can get $500 for each unwanted call, plus penalties. But it is not a sure thing. Silas’s judgement is under appeal and some judges are so concerned by the large verdicts, that one federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional.
But for anyone who wants to fight back against unwanted calls using the TCPA, the process is simple. Request that the calls stop, document the violations and if they continue to call, seek legal advice.
Experts say that it is best to just hang up on anonymous scammers. Most are overseas and can’t be tracked down.
But Silas’s attorney says that if one knows the company that is called, hanging up can actually make things worse.
“In a lot of cases, they’ll just keep calling. And in some cases I have, they won’t just stop calling you. They’ll not start calling new people. They’ll call your family members trying to locate you,” says attorney Amy Bennecoff Ginsburg. “It may just create more issues for you.”