ABC News: How to Fight Robo-Calls

Tonight's ABC News with Diane Sawyer had a story on how a 17 year old Florida girl is fighting back against robocalls from a debt collector. When she got a cell phone, her new number had previously been assigned to a person who owed someone money. And the debt collector wouldn't take "wrong number" for an answer.

Shockingly, the collector -- Diversified Consultants, Inc. -- used a pre-recorded message asking "Marcie Rodriguez" to press one and had no way to opt-out. When she was able to get through to a live person, they refused to take her off the calling list. DCI made more than 200 calls to her phone in all. She (and her mom) contacted an attorney and now they're suing under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

It's an unfortunate story, one that will hopefully have a happy ending, but sadly it's a story that we hear every day. In fact, we filed suit against DCI on behalf of a San Diego woman just last week who received more than 80 calls from DCI, also calls that were intended for someone else. As the ABC News piece points out, DCI has been sued more than 100 times just this year alone for violating the TCPA. And DCI admits to making at least 1.3 million calls every day.

More than the sheer number is just the persistent timing and repetition. Over and over and over again, which basically makes the phone useless because the person starts to ignore all incoming calls.

So how can you fight back too? First, take every opportunity to say "Stop Calling My Cell." Be polite, but be firm and keep saying it until they pay attention. Second, try to keep track of the date and time and caller ID on the calls if it gets to be too many. One trick that one of my clients came up with is to take screen shots of the recent call detail screen. (On an iPhone, press the power button and the home button at the same time.) If you answer the calls, that will keep them on your bill, too.

Third, and most important, be in touch with an experienced TCPA attorney. You may be able to recover $1,500 per call and sometimes with attorneys' fees and costs on top of that. We're happy to talk to you if you think you might have a case, so please be in touch.