A. Texas “No Call Lists”:
Texas residents may register on the National Do Not Call List by visiting www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free at 1-888-382-1222. Additionally, Texas maintains its own “No Call Lists”, to allow Texas residents to avoid unwanted telemarketing calls.
Texans have the option to register their residential or personal wireless telephone numbers with the Statewide “Do Not Call” List; and to register their business phone numbers with the “Electric No Call” List, both sponsored by the Public Utility Commission. By providing your name, address, and telephone number for inclusion on these lists, you indicate your preference to avoid telemarketing calls. This registration helps restrict telephone solicitations, including text, graphic, and image messages, from telemarketers operating within Texas.
Statewide “Do Not Call” List:
The Statewide “Do Not Call” List allows residents to register their residential or wireless phone numbers and applies to all Texas telephone marketers, including Retail Electric Providers (REPs), as well as telemarketers acting on their behalf. It’s important to note that this list is not applicable to business telephone numbers. Adding phone numbers to the list is free of charge. The registrations on this list are valid for three years and need to be renewed on expiry.
“Electric No Call” List:
The “Electric No Call” List allows the registration of business phone numbers and specifically applies to Retail Electric Providers (REPs) and telemarketers acting on their behalf. It is important to note that residential or wireless telephone numbers are not eligible for inclusion on this list. However, these numbers receive protection against calls from REPs or electric-related solicitations through the Statewide “Do Not Call” List. There’s no charge for adding your phone numbers to the “Electric No Call” List. Registrations on this list are valid for five years.
To register your phone number on the Texas “No Call Lists”, you may either:
Alternatively, users may also register via mail:
– For Residential phone number: Statewide “Do Not Call” List: https://www.texasnocall.com/addConsumerPrint.asp?type=R
– For Business phone number: “Electric No Call” List: https://www.texasnocall.com/addConsumerPrint.asp?type=B
Even if you are registered on the Texas “No Call Lists”, Telemarketers are permitted to contact you in certain cases, such as, if:
– they have an established business relationship with you;
– you have specifically requested contact;
– they are calling you to collect a debt you owe; or
– if the telemarketer is a state licensee, such as an insurance or real estate agent, and:
– the call is not made using automated devices,
– the transaction cannot be completed over the call and requires a face-to-face presentation to complete the sales transaction and make payment; and
– you have not previously told the telemarketer not to call you.
B. National Do Not Call List:
Registering for the National Do Not Call Registry is an easy and cost-free procedure. Here’s how you can sign up:
1. **Visit the Official Website**: Access donotcall.gov, the designated website for the National Do Not Call Registry.
2. **Provide Your Details**: Follow the instructions on the website to input your residential or mobile phone number, along with your email address.
3. **Confirm Your Email**: Check your email inbox for a message from donotcall.gov. Within 72 hours, locate the email and click on the included link to confirm and complete your registration.
4. **Registration Complete**: Congratulations! Your phone number is now successfully registered with the National Do Not Call Registry.
If you want to check the registration status of your phone number on the National Do Not Call (DNC) registry, you can do so by visiting this link: https://www.donotcall.gov/verify.html. If your phone number is already registered on the National DNC, there is no need to re-register it. Once your number is registered on the DNC, it remains on the list indefinitely and does not expire.
Keep in mind that after registering on the DNC, most telemarketers should refrain from calling you. However, certain exemptions exist. For example, if you have provided consent for a specific company to contact you, or if you receive calls from charitable organizations, political groups, or businesses with whom you have an established relationship, they may still contact you despite your DNC registration.
C. A Snippet of calls reported to the National DNC from Texas Residents:
April 2021 to March 2022 April 2022 to March 2023
D. Texas State Laws Restricting Telemarketing Calls:
In addition to the federal TCPA, Texas enforces its own Telemarketing Laws to restrict telemarketing calls to consumers in Texas.
E. Private Right of Action under the Texas Law
Texas laws impose various restrictions on businesses placing telemarketing calls. However if a consumer believes a business has placed calls to their phone number in violation of these provisions, they may make a complaint to the relevant state agency, the attorney general, or they may even pursue to recover actual and statutory damages by filing private lawsuits against the violators.
The final amount a consumer could recover will vary based on the details of the case, such as the type and number of violations, the extent of the consumer’s loss, and the telemarketer’s intentionality in their actions. An experienced attorney will be able to assist you in accurately assessing and recovering these damages.
F. TCPA and Texas Laws work together to protect privacy rights of Texas citizens
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that safeguards consumers throughout the United States, including Texans, from unsolicited telemarketing calls, faxes, and text messages. This legislation grants individuals the right to request the cessation of such communications and permits them to file lawsuits against violators in federal court.
As a resident of Texas, you can leverage the TCPA to put an end to unwanted calls and seek compensation. The TCPA prohibits individuals from making automated calls to cell phones or using pre-recorded messages without the prior express consent of the recipient. Violating the TCPA can lead to statutory damages ranging from $500 to $1,500 per call or text message. The specific amount you may recover will depend on factors such as the nature of the violation, the number of violations, and the extent of your losses.
Some basic details about the TCPA:
The TCPA, which stands for Telephone Consumer Protection Act, is a federal law in the United States that provides certain protections to consumers against unwanted telemarketing calls, text messages, and faxes. It establishes guidelines and restrictions for telemarketers and gives consumers tools to protect themselves. Here are some ways TCPA can help an American citizen protect against telemarketers:
1. National Do Not Call Registry: The TCPA created the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows consumers to add their phone numbers to a list to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls. Telemarketers are required to honor these requests and refrain from calling numbers on the registry.
2. Consent Requirements: The TCPA mandates that telemarketers must obtain the express written consent of consumers before making autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls to their cell phones or residential landlines. This requirement helps protect consumers from receiving unwanted calls.
3. Restrictions on Automated Calls: The TCPA places restrictions on the use of automated dialing systems, prerecorded messages, and artificial or prerecorded voice calls. Telemarketers are prohibited from using these methods to make unsolicited marketing calls unless they have obtained the consumer’s prior express consent.
4. Opt-Out Mechanism: Telemarketing calls made under the TCPA must include an automated opt-out mechanism, allowing consumers to easily and immediately request to be removed from future calls from that particular telemarketer. This gives consumers control over their communication preferences.
5. Right to Sue: The TCPA grants consumers the right to sue telemarketers who violate its provisions. If a consumer receives unauthorized telemarketing calls or messages, they can take legal action and potentially seek statutory damages.
Remember that while the TCPA can help protect against unwanted telemarketing, it does not cover all types of calls, such as informational calls from political campaigns, charities, or debt collectors.
It’s important to note that while the TCPA provides protections, some telemarketers may still attempt to violate the law. To protect yourself:
– Register your phone number(s) on the National Do Not Call Registry.
– Be cautious when sharing your phone number online or with businesses.
– Keep a record of any unsolicited telemarketing calls or messages you receive.
– Report violations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or consider consulting an attorney if you believe your rights under the TCPA have been violated.
Certainly, individuals in Texas have the option to utilize the TCPA, in addition to the state laws, to address unwanted telemarketing calls and pursue damages. However, it’s important to note that the TCPA can be intricate in its specifics and application. Therefore, seeking guidance from a legal professional is advisable if you believe your TCPA rights have been violated.
While the TCPA includes provisions for penalties and fines against violators, the actual ability to collect these amounts may vary. Factors such as the financial situation of the violator and their ability to satisfy the judgment can impact the consumer’s chances of recovering the penalty. Nevertheless, the TCPA remains a powerful tool for consumers to combat unwanted calls and assert their rights.