Tips on Receiving Funds from Telemarketers
This information is based on one person's experiences. Your
success may vary.
Things to be aware of
- Chances are you won't be able to recover anything if the
only violation is the telemarketer's failure to provide
an address or phone number; wait for the second call
before asking for payment.
- Consider settling for a reduced amount. You may get less
money than you're entitled to, but could avoid having to
actually sue to receive anything. Usually when there is a
violation, the company knows it's in the wrong and is
pretty sure it will lose in court. They want to avoid the
legal costs and time involved, but mainly they want to
avoid adverse publicity. So they're usually willing to
settle out of court for a reduced sum. Getting any
payment from a company is painful for them, and if enough
people collect, telemarketing would become too expensive
and the industry would disappear.
- There is a small loophole in the law that states that if
a company calls a second time, they can use as an excuse
that it was an inadvertent mistake. In cases that do go
to court, usually the judge admonishes the company to be
more careful, but the plaintiff loses. However, if the
same company calls a third time, then it's obvious that
the second call wasn't an inadvertent mistake, and the
plaintiff can usually collect for the second and
Violations to watch for
- When you receive a written copy of a do-not-call policy,
check to see what they require for a customer to be put
on the do-not-call list. If it requires your address,
that's a violation -- it's excessive information; they
can only require a name and phone number.
Suggestions for contacting the telemarketing company
Your first step would be to write a formal business letter to
the president of the company, stating that this letter is a
formal claim for $XXX (state the amount you're claiming) for
violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.
- Set forth all of the particulars of the calls, including
dates, times, the name of the person/people who called,
names of any supervisors you spoke to, the date you
requested to be put on the do-not-call list, and anything
else you feel is pertinent.
- Tell them how you arrived at the amount you're claiming
-- remember, $500 for each violation.
- If you're willing to settle for a reduced amount, let
them know that you're willing to negotiate.
- Give them a reasonable amount of time to fork over the
money (like 3 weeks).
- Tell them if you haven't received the money by the
deadline, that you'll report the violations to the
Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications
Commission, your State Attorney General, and your local
Office of Consumer Affairs; and that you will seek
redress in Small Claims Court.
- Send the letter Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.
- Be sure to ask for a written copy of the company's
do-not-call policy in your letter. Failure to provide it
can net you another $500.00.
You may be required to sign a release before you can receive
the payment. Read it carefully and make sure you are willing to
agree to its terms before you sign. Feel free to change anything
you don't like. Make sure the release has an expiration date --
if you haven't received the $$$ by that date, then the release is
void. If they don't agree to the changes, then you won't have a
settlement; but you can still sue. Tell them that if they don't
meet your terms, you'll feel free to publicize the incident in
how to stop telemarketers
47 USC §227
47 CFR §64.1200
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