Telemarketer Harassment

Your Rights to Compensation for Robocalls, Spam Texts and Junk Faxes

Solicitations by telemarketers are disruptive to your daily life, and in some cases, can be a constant annoyance.   Many are not aware that these calls (as well as unsolicited texts and faxes) often violate federal law. Telemarketers are required to adhere to specific rules and restrictions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In addition to prohibiting many types of solicitations, the TCPA provides a number of remedies to an individual who has been the victim of telemarketer harassment.  If you have been receiving pre-recorded or auto-dialed calls from a telemarketer, or spam texts or facsimiles, an attorney can take legal action to stop the calls and in many cases, obtain compensation for you.

How Consumers Are Protected from Telemarketer Harassment

The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations, including the use of pre-recorded messages, automated telephone number dialing equipment (“robo-calls”), and messages sent to wireless phones, fax machines, and voice messaging systems. The Act specifically prohibits telemarketers from harassing consumers, and penalizes companies that don’t play by the rules.

Telemarketers Must Adhere to the Following Rules:

  • The law prohibits calls to consumers who have not given express consent to receive the call or have registered on a “Do Not Call” list
  • Calls cannot be made to residences before 8 AM or after 9 PM
  • Solicitors are required to provide their name and reason for the call
  • The law applies to land-line phones, cell phones and fax machines
  • Spam fax messaages or unsolicited text messages are also prohibited

Different Rules Apply to Land Lines and Cell Phones:

Landlines. Prerecorded telemarketing calls are prohibited without your prior express written consent. However, autodialed (whether telemarketing or non-telemarketing) and prerecorded non-telemarketing calls are legal. If your number is on the “Do Not Call” list and you receive two or more telemarketing calls in a 12 month period, whether autodialed or prerecorded, these calls are illegal.*

Cell Phones. Any type of telemarketing call, prerecorded or autodialed, is illegal without your express written consent. Providing your cell phone number to a telemarketer is deemed to be consent. Calls from a debt collector can only be made if your number has been given in connection with the debt transaction. For example, if you take out a loan with a creditor, and do not provide your cell phone number, but do so later for another purpose, the creditor cannot use automated calls for collecting debt.

*The equipment most companies use falls under the definition of an “autodialer.” Some telltale signs of a telemarketing call are a slight pause when you pick up before someone answers, you hear a pre recorded message such as “Please hold on for an important message,” you routinely receive calls at a particular time of the day or you hear clicking sounds when you pick up the phone. While express written consent is required for telemarketing calls to be legal, consent can be revoked at any time.

At a Glance: TCPA and Pre-recorded and Auto-dialed Calls

Type of Call

Mobile Phone


Pre-recorded Telemarketing

Illegal without written consent

Illegal without written consent

Auto-dialed * Telemarketing

Illegal without written consent


Pre-recorded non-telemarketing

Illegal without consent


Autodialed non-telemarketing

Illegal without consent


Prohibition against Unsolicited Faxes

  • Unsolicited advertising faxes, also known as “junk faxes,” are illegal under the TCPA. Advertising faxes, whether solicited or not, must also contain a specific and detailed “opt out” notice at the bottom of the first page.

Forms of Communications NOT Covered by the TCPA:

  • Commercial calls for non-marketing purposes including certain calls from debt collectors that are made to landlines
  • Calls from tax-exempt, nonprofit entities
  • Political calls
  • Calls for loan servicing businesses
  • Notices and alerts such as those from airlines, banks and credit card companies, schools and universities, package delivery and wireless carriers

The Law Provides Powerful Recourse with Significant Statutory Damages against Violators

Consumers who are victims of harassment under the TCPA can sue for each violation and recover $500 per call, fax, or text. The fine can be tripled to $1,500 if the call, facsimile, or text was a willful violation of the law.

In New York, state law also requires businesses that operate as telemarketers to be registered, establishes an in-state “Do Not Call” list and provides powerful remedies in additional to the TCPA, including civil penalties of up to $1,000 to $2,000 per violation. Learn More

What to Do When Contacted by a Telemarketer:

  • Keep a written record of contact
  • Orally request the caller to place you on their do not call list
  • Send a written request to the telemarketing firm via certified mail, return receipt
  • Register your phone number on the federal Do Not Call List
  • Contact an attorney that represents consumers under the TCPA

How to Retain This Firm to Represent You

If you are being harassed by a telemarketer, contact us today for a free evaluation. We can determine whether you are entitled to statutory damages under the TCPA and New York state law and obtain an injunction to stop the annoying calls. In most cases, we represent consumers on a contingency basis.