What Is A Robocall & When Can You Sue for $500 - $1,500 Each?

Ring. Ring. Ring.

You answer your phone,  push some buttons or a person comes on and you say, "stop calling me"

If they robocall you again, this call may now be worth $500 to $1,500 because you told them to stop.  

For this, you need to know the 4 types of robocalls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

4 Types of Robocalls You Get

1. Collection Calls for You

These are calls looking for you or anyone else in an attempt to collect a debt of some type. These are a large part of most robocall lawsuits. This is big. Many people originally give their consent to be robocalled when they hand over their cell phone numbers.


If you ask to not be robocalled anymore, and they continue to call you - it's illegal.

If you are absolutely positive you told a collector to stop calling and you were later repeatedly called about the same debt, we want to talk with.  These types of robocall cases can be valuable to you.

2. Collection Calls for Another Person

These are calls looking for you or anyone else in an attempt to collect a debt of some type. These are a large part of most robocall lawsuits.

ALWAYS ILLEGAL: If this is the case, since you never gave consent for them to call you, all of the robocalls will be illegal. It's all about consent and if they used a robodialer.

If this is your situation, let's speak privately about what we can do for you. As a TCPA lawyer, I can advise you on your next steps. These types of robocall cases can be valuable to you.

3. Telemarketing Calls

These are sales calls made by a business or on behalf of another business. These are also a large part of most robocall lawsuits. Many of these robocall cases are also class actions. These types of robocall cases can be valuable to you.

4. Calls from Crooks & Liars

These could be either collection robocalls or telemarketing calls, but either way, you will be screwed when you deal with them. You can't sue these robocall guys because they won't pay and are crooks. For these, you can try to report them and let the authorities try or not.

No matter what, you likely won't get squat out of these robocallers. 

Report - Block - Repeat

Is a business or collection company robocalling you constantly after you told them to stop calling you?  You may be entitled to compensation of $500 to $1,500 per phone call. Contact the law office of Joseph P. McClelland, LLC by clicking the button above or call 770-775-0938.

Most Common Questions About Robocalls

Can you tell a debt collector to stop calling?

If the calls coming in are harassing you, and daily, it can become quite frustrating. So you might be wondering, can I tell them to stop?

Yes you can. You can absolutely tell them to stop calling, because there is no law that suggests you need to speak with a debt collector over the phone.

This also grants you the power to hangup, or block the number, as well. If the debt collector continues to keep calling, they're actually breaking an FDCPA and TCPA where each call has a penalty of $500 to $1500.

How many times can collectors call in one day?

When it comes to the number of phone calls a debt collector can make, sometimes it might seem like they just don't stop.

At the end of the day there are plenty of rules in place to insure you're not being harassed, but believe it or not there is no set limit in regard to how many times they can call you in one day.

So what does this limit come down to? Harassment.  If you want to get them to stop, then you need to tell them to stop calling you. You can also do this by phone. If they continue to call after this, each call is in violation of the TCPA.

Should I answer debt collector calls?

Believe it or not, it is actually in your best interest to answer these calls. Why? This gives you a chance to tell them to stop calling you and to contact you by mail only.

Can 2 collection agencies collect on the same debt?

This one might seem tricky, but the answer is it depends. Debt can often be switched from one company to another. For example, if you owe Sears money and fail to pay it, they can transfer that debt to a collection agency.

The only time this cannot happen, is if the same debt is being associated with two agencies at the same time. In this case, the two agencies are in violation of the FCRA and you can dispute this issue with all parties involved.

What if a debt collector calls before 8 am?

If a debt collector calls before 8 am, then that is classified as harassment. No debt collection agency is allowed to call you at an inconvenient time, which means before 8 am and after 9 pm. So if you're finding calls from a debt collector before 8 am, you'll want to dispute this practice immediately. This puts them in violation of FDCPA rules.

Can collections take you to court?

This is one of the more important questions to look at, because the word court can strike fear in many. Therefore, it is important to know what a debt collector has the power to do. When it comes to court, a debt collector can not threaten you with a court date if they have no intent to do so. If they do have intent to do so, these court cases can end up leading to garnished wages. These garnished wages can occur through a strict legal process, though, and do not occur as often as they would have you think.

Is it illegal to robocall cell phones? 

It is not illegal in the criminal sense of the word. However, it can be in violation of civil laws which compensate the party for damages as opposed to someone going to jail.

Can I sue for robocalls? 

Yes, you can sue for robocalls if the robocalls violated the telephone consumer protection act. If the calls were in violation of the tcpa, you should sue.

Can I sue telemarketers? 

Yes, you can sue telemarketers if you're being contacted without your permission. If your phone number is on THE Do Not Call list, you may also have a claim.

Can you trace a robocall? 

You probably can trace a robocall, but that's pretty extreme stuff. It's best to just Google the number and see what people are saying about it. Many times a law firm like mine will have written an article describing to The Collector is. You can also call the number and ask them who they are.

How do I stop getting robocalls forever? 

I'm sorry to inform you but that is impossible. Tomorrow a new Robo caller can decide to put your number on the list and start to call you. A better question maybe how do you stop the current robocalls that you were getting? In this case I would make sure to notify each collar to stop calling and ask them of their business name in order to consider filing a lawsuit.

Who invented robocalls? 

Honestly I have no idea who invented robocalls and do not care.

Why do robocalls hang up? 

Robocalls wall to hang up on you because the computer dialing system is set to attempt to decipher between a answering machine and an actual person answering the phone. So if you've answered the phone and it hangs up on you, the dialing system that they are using misinterpreted your answer as an answering machine.

How can I stop robocalls on my cell phone? 

The first thing you'd want to do is to figure out who is making the phone call. Inform the color that you do not want to be called again. They continue to call, consider filing a lawsuit under the TCPA. If the robocaller is simply a scam, you must block the number and you can attempt to report it to the FTC.

Can you sue for unwanted phone calls? 

Yes, you can sue for unwanted phone calls. Mini advertising phone calls to your home phone may be in violation of the TCPA if you are on a Do Not Call list. Further you have a right to request anyone calling you that you do not want to be called. If this caller is an actual business that you have done business with, you may need to mail them a letter under your own state law.

Can telemarketers call cell phones? 

Yes telemarketers can call cell phones if they have the proper authorization and permission. However, if you are on a Do Not Call List those calls will be in violation of the law. You should highly consider reaching out to an attorney to enforce your rights and to collect the $500 to $1,500 per phone call violation.

What happens if you answer a robocall? 

Okay if you answer a robocall, you will most likely hear a recording or a pre-recorded voice telling you to do something. It will not shock you or do anything else crazy to my knowledge.

Why is the Do Not Call List not working in 2019? 

To my knowledge the Do Not Call List is working in 2019 if you have businesses that are contacting you in 2019 and you are definitely do not call list, I will consider those calls to be in violation of the TCPA. I would highly recommend you contacting an attorney to enforce your rights and to recover the dollar amount that you are owed under the statutory law.

What's the point of robocalls? 

The whole purpose of robocalls is that they require less people to be involved or to have any people involved at all. Robocall can come in and several Fashions. The first and most prevalent is the type that when you answer the phone all you're going to hear is a recording. Because they're just playing you recording it didn't require anyone's actually dial the numbers with their fingers or wait on when I'm a lion until you answered or went to an answering machine. Because of this it's much cheaper and faster to have a computer do this than a person.

How do I block robocalls on my iPhone? 

Again before you start blocking robocalls, you need to make a determination if it's a real business or a fake business / scammer. If it's a real business calling you, you should not block the number. Instead, you should answer the phone confirm who you're speaking with, and politely ask them to stop calling.

If they continue to call, they will be in violation of the TCPA. Further, most businesses have multiple numbers. That means that you will have to block number after number after number until they have no more numbers calling you. It's much easier to just deal with them.

Can you sue a scammer? 

Yes you can sue a scammer, but scammers don't pay their bills. So it will be a waste of time for you and everyone involved.

Can I sue a company that keeps calling me? 

Yeah you can absolutely sue a company that keeps calling you. You may need to take certain steps before you can file the suit and have a viable claim. And so the first thing you want to know is if you've ever done business with them or not if it's a business and they're calling for someone that's not you then you don't need to take any additional steps before you file a lawsuit.

But he did business with him before, you're going to have to figure out what you need to do before you can sue under the TCPA. Generally speaking telling the company to stop calling you is enough.

If it's the actual business that you are that you worked with in the past, you may need two additionally mail them a letter telling them that you don't want them to call you anymore.

What is the fine for no Call Registry violations? 

Define is the same fine under the telephone consumer protection act. However, your own state may have additional penalties that you can utilize. For example, in Georgia these types of calls are additionally worth $2,000 per call.

Are automated calls illegal? 

These calls are not illegal in the sense of someone can go to jail, but they may violate civil laws which entitles someone to monetary damages.

Whether or not these calls are in violation of the law will depend on whether the business is calling obtain the consent to call that person and whether the type of phone system that they are using qualifies as an autodialer.

Can you sue for phone harassment? 

Yes you can sue for phone harassment under the FDCPA or fair debt collection practices act. You may have additional liability under the TCPA or the telephone consumer protection act.

How many phone calls is considered harassment? 

There is no specific number at this time. I would consider whether you feel like you've been harassed as a baseline. I would also look at the volume of calls and the pattern of calls. 

For example, if they called you seven times and afternoon verses 7 times in a month might be a different question. However the volume of the calls and how many times they can call you does not having an impact on whether each of those calls violated the TCPA. That's an entirely different question. And those circumstances, every call was basically harassment.

Can I sue cold callers? 

Yes you can sue cold callers. A cold caller is the same as a marketer. Marketers are covered under the TCPA. If you are on a do not call list, then you shouldn't highly consider learning the identity of the business to see if they are a viable business to sue for damages.

How long do you stay on the Do Not Call list? 

It is my understanding that the do-not-call list is permanent. As long as you maintain your phone number that phone number will be on the Do Not Call List. You can, of course, remove your name from the list.

Therefore, as long as you do not remove your name from the list, your name should remain on the Do Not Call List indefinitely.

How do I file a complaint against a telemarketer? 

I will assume for the purposes of this question that you are talking about a complaint with the FTC or a complaint with the CFPB. These you can contact directly through the internet.

Do realize though that filing a complaint to a federal agency may impact the business that you're complaining about, that will very likely have absolutely no impact on your case. If you have an actual dispute you will need to handle that directly with a Consumer Attorney.

What is a do not call complaint? 

Although I'm not fully sure based upon how this question is asked, I will say that there is a do not call list. And once you register your phone number on the do-not-call list, telemarketers are not allowed to contact you at that phone number. So if you are getting calls from a business does an actual business after you put your name on the Do Not Call list for 30 days, you can file a complaint for damages under the TCPA.

The question may indicate that it is inquiring about filing a complaint with the federal agency. If that is the case, you can do that online. Again, please note that filing a dispute or a complaint with the federal agency may not impact your case directly.

Are robocalls illegal in California? 

Although I do not practice law in California and will not speak to its state laws, robocalls violate the TCPA if the calls were placed without the consent of the consumer. This is the same in all states. However, states can add additional claims and damages.

Does the government have a do not call list? 

Yes, the government does have a do not call list. You should go to it immediately and put in your number or check to see if your number has already been included. It will take you under 1 minute. You can find that at d o n o t c a l l. Govt

Are robocalls illegal in Texas? 

Robocalls may be in violation of the telephone consumer protection act in all 50 states depending on whether or not the consumer provided and has not appropriately revoked consent to be called using an automated dialing telephone system.

What is the violation of the TCPA? 

Violation of the TCPA is the telephone call made to a consumer without consent to be placed using an automatic and automated telephone dialing system or Robo caller. The damages for a violation of the TCPA range from $500 per call to $1,500 per call.

What is the point of robocalls?

The point of robocalls is to place as many phone calls as possible with as little human involvement as possible to increase the profit.

What is the purpose of robocalls? 

The purpose of robocalls is to place as many calls as possible using as less human involvement as possible to increase the return on investment.

Are automated calls illegal? 

Automated calls May violate the telephone consumer protection act, but are not illegal under criminal statutes. This means that one may not go to jail for sending robocalls generally, but may incur a heavy fine for doing so.

How do robocalls work? 

Well each automated dialing telephone system works differently, but generically there is a database that contains a list of phone numbers to be called a computer will begin to call those numbers at a certain pace, when the call is answered it will either leave a pre-recorded voice-mail or the computer will route the call to an available agent. This is why when you answer a robocall you will either hear a pre-recorded message or there will be a delay before someone begins speaking of the other end of the line.

Where do robocalls come from? 

Robocalls come from businesses, collectors, and scammers. I suppose politicians fall into one of those three categories.

How do I report spam calls on my iPhone? 

You can report them online to the FTC or the CFPB. However the best thing to do is to make sure that you are on the Do Not Call List and to continue to answer your phone and inquire who is calling. If you can figure out they are real business, then you have the right to enforce the law against them.

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About the author 

Joseph McClelland

Consumer Attorney that fights big businesses on your behalf.
Started his career in international human rights before eventually finding his true calling in consumer protection law. He is a husband and trial lawyer. Most of his work involves credit reporting errors, robocalls, and identity theft. His law practice is in the Atlanta/Decatur area.