New telemarketing law could mean cash for unwanted calls - KMSP-TV

New telemarketing law could mean cash for unwanted calls

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If you are one of the many Americans who receive telemarketing calls on your cell phone up to three times a day, you're in for some relief.

Thanks to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, those unwanted calls, can in some ways, be worth some cash.

Jordan Rodriguez describes how incessant telemarketers can be the way many of us would.

"It can be a point of harassment," nodded Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has seen the flaws of the telemarketing system firsthand.

"I've worked in places where salespeople promise to take you off the call list, and they don't," he admitted. "They call a few months later. It's not a great practice."

Jacob Riley told Fox 9 News he has often been on the receiving end of those tedious calls.

"Sometimes, they don't really care what time they call," Riley stated, adding that telemarketers have even woken him up in the morning.

Riley, Rodriguez and the rest of us should soon notice fewer of those calls. Starting Oct. 16th, telemarketers are required to gather and store prior written consent from you before using an auto dialer or sending either pre-recorded or text messages to your cell phone.

"The question is: Where does that consent come from? Is it coming from you, or is it the vendor they're calling because of?" asked consumer Jarvis Hunnecook.

There are some questions to keep in mind the next time you are forced to have a conversation with a telemarketer. Be sure you ask for the name of the company calling, and who they're calling on behalf of.

"Knowing you can take advantage of that and fight back against that kind of malpractice in marketing and sales calls is a good thing for a lot of people," Rodriguez told FOX 9.

Riley, now empowered by the recent ruling, said "If it gets to that point to where it's super annoying, now we can do something about it."

With this knowledge, all you have to tell to the telemarketer is, "Show me written proof I've given you permission to call or text me." If they don't produce the evidence, you have the right to sue violators directly, and fines can range anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited call or text.

If suing sounds like too much of a hassle, consumers can simply file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission -- a defense that may deter those unwanted calls in the first place and maybe help create less bothersome sales tactics.

Just take it from Rodriguez.

"As people are more empowered, the sales people are more intentional, people are more receptive," he explained. "You're actually going to see a better movement in sales as a whole."

There are some exceptions to the new regulation. Your mobile carrier is free to place unsolicited calls, as are some health organizations, emergency calls, charities and political groups. All of these are exempt from having prior express written consent.

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