Robocalls are a fact of everyday life in the modern world. I personally receive over 20 robocalls every day. I'm sure you probably do too.
It seems like every ten minutes I'm getting another call offering loan forgiveness, credit repair, or business funding.
Despite being annoying, robocalls are also illegal if you're phone number is on the Do-Not-Call registry.
In fact, the federal government says that you're entitled to receive $500 PER CALL from the company who called you; PLUS and an additional $500 if they call you more than once!
Text messages count too!
I thought so!
In this article you're going to learn:
How to profit from receiving robocalls
The legal issues related to robocalling
What information to collect from robocallers in order to sue them
How to format your demand letter to robocallers
How to provoke more robocalls
Table of Contents
What Does the Law Say?
On December 20th, 1991, the United States Congress made it a crime to use an automated telephone dialing system or prerecorded voice to make any unsolicited advertisement to a residential line or mobile telephone.
The law was called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act - TCPA 47 U.S.C. sec 227 - and it remains in full-force to this day.
The TCPA includes calls made within the United States, as well as calls made to recipients in the United States from abroad. It has specific provisions for facilities such as hospitals, law enforcement, fire protection, "911", elderly homes, and other similar establishments.
Of course, not all calls qualify.
The TCPA has exceptions for:
Calls between people with an established business relationship
Calls not made for commercial purposes
Call recipients who voluntarily provide their information
However, if your phone number is listed on the Do-Not-Call registry and you find yourself on the receiving end of a qualified robocall, you're entitled to $500 in compensation per call and an additional $500 if you've been called more than once.
The court may further increase the penalty for each violation up to three times at its own discretion.
In other words, each individual violation of the TCPA is worth at least $500 but could potentially be worth up to $1,500.
So... how do you cash in on this opportunity?
The following steps with guide you through the process.
1. List your Number on the National Do-Not-Call List
The first step is to get your phone number listed on the Do-Not-Call registry. This move will give you solid legal footing later.
Getting your number on the Do-Not-Call registry is easy.
Just follow either of the previous links, add your number, and confirm your email address.
It's free and it takes less than two minutes, but make sure to grab a screenshot of the confirmation screen at the end. You'll need that later when you draft your demand letter.
2. Provoke Robocalls
If you want to maximize your financial reward, you might want to consider provoking the robocallers.
Most people don't need any help provoking robocalls. But if you want to maximize your return, it doesn't hurt to get your name on a few scammers' lists.
Keep in mind that once your number is on the Do-Not-Call registry, it is illegal to call you without your consent if you did not willingly provide a third party with your contact information.
That means that legit companies will will stop calling you; but scammers won't...
In my own personal experience, I never received more robocalls than when I applied for my first business loan.
After merely inquiring about a business loan I began getting inundated with offers to apply for financing from every conceivable direction.
Some lenders were legit but most weren't.
Now, I didn't actually apply to any of these supposed financial institutions nor was I ever charged for anything; but the fact that I signaled that I might possibly be in the market for a business loan compelled an entire universe of "lenders" to call or text my phone.
Anyone who calls or texts you after your name is on the Do-Not-Call registry is in clear violation of the law, likely a scammer, and should be considered fair game.
Just make sure you don't inadvertently give them permission to contact you, or else you've got no defense.
You can inquire about business loans without any impact to your credit score or further obligation; and without having to spend a dime!
Deliberately putting your name on call lists is definitely not for everyone, and whether or not you choose to follow this particular step is a decision you'll need to make for yourself.
But if you're serious about making money, you should know that any of the following companies will attempt to broker a loan on your behalf and will most-assuredly add your name to a few well-circulated contact lists.
Note: Inquiring about loans and/or opening FREE accounts WILL NOT impact your credit score.
Remember, it's free to shop around for a loan or open an REIT account. You will not need to spend any money.
3. Answer the Call
When you start receiving robocalls, you'll need to answer them to find out who to sue.
Typically, most scammers use robocalls to get potential victims on the line and then the prerecorded voice will say something like "Hang on while I transfer you to my associate," at which time a live human will answer.
Remember any call that uses an automated dialing system or a prerecorded voice qualifies as a robocall and is illegal.
Even if a human eventually joins the call, it still counts as a robocall.
When you do eventually get a human on the line, it's a good idea to feign interest and tell them what they want to hear.
After you've established a rapport with them, casually ask for their website address.
If they claim not to have a website, ask for their general contact information. If they refuse to give it to you, each violation of the TCPA goes from $500 to $1,500.
According to the TCPA, unsolicited text messages also qualify as "telephone solicitations" and are prohibited.
Therefore, each automatic text message you receive from an unauthorized third-party for the purpose of selling you a product counts as a violation.
4. Do Your Research
Typically, you'll be able to find a contact name or address on a company's website, even if they company has a shady reputation.
Otherwise, try using Instant Checkmate to perform a reverse phone lookup.
A simple Google search can be helpful too. You can sometimes also find contact information for the website administrator by searching the WHOIS database.
Remember, all you need to file a lawsuit is a full name and physical address.
If they are unable to provide a web address, it's a scam.
You'll also need to prepare a call log that shows the dates and times you received calls from a particular business.
Keep in mind that many scammers use fake numbers to disguise their location and make it appear like they're calling from a local number.
5. Write the Demand Letter
Your demand letter should include:
The date your letter was sent
Details about the robocall including exact times and dates
A screenshot showing that your number is listed on the Do-Not-Call registry
Screenshots of your phone's call history and/or text messages you received
The specific TCPA violations
Your contact information, including your name and mailing address
A deadline to respond, usually 2 - 4 weeks
Make sure to keep a copy of every letter you send for your own records.
Sample Demand Letter
Here is a sample demand letter. Feel free to copy and use it at your own discretion:
762 18th St
Oakland, CA 94612
Business Loan Services
476 Braddock St
Denver, CO 59096
Via UPSP Certified Mail
Re: Robocall Telephone Consumer Protection Act Violation
Dear Business Loan Services,
I am contacting you demanding payment in the amount of $2,000. I am attempting to resolve this matter out of court, but if we cannot reach an agreement, I intend to sue.
Here is a statement of my case that I intend to submit to the court:
On the following dates and times, I received unsolicited prerecorded phone messages from Business Loan Services in an attempt to sell me a product.
1. February 13, 2023, 9:15 AM
2. February 14, 2023, 9:19 AM
3. February 15, 2023, 9:26 AM
My phone number is listed on the National ‘Do Not Call’ registry (see Figure #1) and I have never given Business Loan Services express consent to send me prerecorded messages, or “Robocalls” as they are more commonly known. I do not have an established business relationship with Business Loan Services, nor have I ever heard of them or their product.
Yet, as per my phone log, over the span of a week, I have received 3 unsolicited calls from Business Loan Services (see Figure #2). These unsolicited prerecorded calls are a violation of the TCPA 47 U.S.C. sec. 227(b)(1)(B).
Additionally, TCPA 47 U.S.C. sec. 227(c) states that two or more calls within a 12-month period to phone numbers listed on the National ‘Do Not Call’ registry constitutes an additional violation.
My number is registered with the National ‘Do Not Call’ registry and I have received multiple calls from Business Loan Services, therefore Business Loan Services has also violated TCPA 47 U.S.C. sec. 227(c).
Pursuant to TCPA 47 U.S.C. sec. 227(b)(3), which give individuals a private right of action for violations under the TCPA, and states that each individual violation entitles the aggrieved party to $500, I am demanding payment in the amount of $2,000.
You may contact me at email@example.com if you would like to discuss the matter further.
Please send me a check in the amount of $2,000 to the following address:
762 18th St
Oakland, CA 94612
If I do not hear from you within 30 days, I will file a lawsuit. In the event of a lawsuit, I intend to seek redress to the fullest extent permitted by law, including, but not limited to, additional damages, cost of legal services, court costs, and accrued interest.
[Insert screenshot of your number on the Do-Not-Call registry}
[Insert screenshots of any supporting evidence}
6. Send Your Demand Letter via USPS Certified Mail
This step is critical for proving that you attempted to resolve the matter outside of court.
Many states will require you to prove that you tried to settle the matter outside of court before allowing you to file a lawsuit.
The United States Post Service charges $3.75 in addition to the regular postage to send a letter via certified mail. If you want to add a return receipt, and you should; there is an additional $3.05 charge for a mail receipt or a $1.85 charge for an electronic receipt.
Either type of receipt is acceptable in court.
7. Go to Court if You Must
Most of the time, companies will just write you a check rather than fight an uphill legal battle. Scammers are particularly incentivised to settle out of court because they don't want to get into trouble for anything else.
However, some robocallers may try to put up a fight.
In that case, you may need to take them to small claims court.
If that happens, don't worry. Just go through the process and stand your ground. The law is on your side.
Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases and they are cost effective. That's because small claims courts are designed to be user-friendly. Some small claims courts don't even allow attorneys to be present.
Filing a claim at a small claims court is usually quick and easy, just follow these steps:
Prepare Your Lawsuit
Fill out the correct forms that your courthouse requires. You'll need to know the robocaller's information.
Make sure to state whether or not they robocaller was forthcoming with their contact information.
File Your Lawsuit
Once you've prepared your forms, you're ready to file your lawsuit with a small claims court.
Most small claims courts allow you to file a lawsuit in person, by mail, or online; though online filing is far less common.
Serve Your Lawsuit
Once you've filed your lawsuit, you'll need to notify the person you're suing. This step is called "serving." Most small claims courts allow for the following options:
The County Clerk may be able to mail the robocaller a copy of the lawsuit
The Sheriff may be able to deliver a copy of the lawsuit to the robocaller
A process server may be able to deliver a copy of the lawsuit to the robocaller
You may ask a neutral friend or family member to deliver a copy of the lawsuit to the robocaller.
Prepare for the Hearing
Before the hearing, it's a good idea to make some basic preparations to increase your chances of a favorable judgement.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the TCPA as well as any state-specific laws that they robocaller may have violated.
Prepare your evidence by collecting and organizing any physical or digital evidence that could be used to support your case. Remember, the onus is on you to prove that the robocaller owes you money.
It's a good idea to rehearse what you plan to say in front of the judge too.
Finally, bring at least three copies of all your evidence; one for you, one for the robocaller, and one for the judge.