Any claim for damages - including the stress and damages from robocalls and spammers - begins with a demand letter. It would be best to tell the spammer why they must cease and desist and name a figure to settle the matter. Dispute offers you sample demand letters demanding that the calls cease. You can find out how to sue robocalls and how to sue spam calls, but with the Telephone Consumer Protect Act. After that, there are several options available to you.
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA, 47 USC 227), businesses must meet certain standards regarding telemarketing, automated calls, pre-recorded calls, unsolicited faxes, and text messages. Firms that don't comply with TCPA policies and procedures face significant problems. The most common violations include the following:
- Autodialing cell phone numbers are listed in the Do-Not-Call Registry.(federal and state lists where individuals can opt out of receiving marketing contacts)
- Automated messages are delivered to cell phones without PEWC (essentially, prior written consent).
- Unsolicited marketing robocalls.
- Inadequate or absent disclosures during a phone call
Any one of these violations can lead to consumer action against the business committing the violations.
You can file a lawsuit under the TCPA for civil penalties ranging from $500 to $1,500 per call you receive. Or you can report the calls or texts to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC's website provides facilities for reporting robocalls, spam texts, and do-not-call violations. Your FTC complaint should include the date of the call, the phone number it was from, and the company's name.
There is no one-bite rule under the TCPA. Under the TCPA, you can file suit if you get two calls in any 12 months. You don't have to warn them that you're going to sue.
If you believe you are receiving telemarketing calls violating the Do-Not-Call law, you can file a complaint with the FTC. Both the TCPA and the FTC's Do-Not-Call list are intended to give you access to financial compensation for harassing phone calls. While the damages probably won't make you rich, they will help you feel better and cause the marketer to rethink their strategy.
Like Do-Not-Call, the CAN-SPAM Act is enforced by the FTC and by state attorneys general. Some states also allow for a private right of action when the other party has relied on evading summons.
Small Claims Court
You can also sue in Small Claims Court. If a telemarketer or spammer has violated any of the express terms of the TCPA and did not cease after receiving your demand letter, you may want to consider suing them in small claims court. You can sue under the TCPA and recover damages in a relatively efficient and affordable process.
The first step is to file a statement of claim or complaint. This document will name the parties on your side and, if known, on your side. You may have to file an affidavit that you made a genuine effort to collect the debt. Next, contact the country clerk in the small claims court district nearest the person you want to sue. This process can become complicated and expensive if you and the defendant do not live in the same state.
Next, your court will provide a Statement of Claim form at the clerk's office. You will need to complete the form and pay your filing fee. The form will generally ask for the facts about your claim, the dollar amount you're looking for, and any documents you plan to submit. The filing fees vary by state but usually range between $15 and $100. Next, you must send a Statement of Claim to the defendant. You can use the sheriff or private process service to do this. The court clerk can help you with how it's done in your court.
The same-state defendant has about 20 days to answer your claim. Some things that can happen during these weeks include:
- The defendant pays the money owed. If that happens, notify the court and discuss your case.
- The defendant never responds; you can request a notice of default granting your judgment, something on which you can collect money damages.
- The defendant may file a counterclaim. You have 20 days to respond, or your case will be dismissed.
Next, you most likely have to appear with the defendant before the Small Claims judge in a pretrial hearing. At this hearing, you may settle, be ordered to undergo mediation, or be granted the right to go on to Small Claims Court. If you go to court, you will present your side of the story and your evidence. The defendant does the same. You may ask questions, as will the judge. Once you have done this, the judge will rule or let you know when to expect an answer. If you win, collecting the money owed is your responsibility.
Dispute can help generate a petition for your small claims court of choice in minutes from your phone or computer today.