Fed up with telemarketers? NJ lawyer says you can make them pay
If you’re being bombarded with annoying telemarketer calls, there’s a way to fight back.
You may be able to stop the calls and even collect monetary damages thanks to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Jeremy Glapion, an attorney who started a website called stopcallingme.com about 2 years ago, said he files dozens of lawsuits a year against telemarketing companies.
Many cases he'll resolve by just sending a letter that informs the company about the violations.
“If you get a call that violates the law, if you get one that you can prove a violation of, you get a minimum of $500 per call or text message," he said, explaining the law.
If you can prove willfulness, where you repeatedly told them to stop but they kept calling you, the penalty can be tripled, up to $1,500 per call.
“A lot of these cases settle and settlements you tend to negotiate down a little bit because to get the full $500 or $1,500 you almost have to go to trial.”
He said depending on the specifics of your case, if you do wind up getting money it may be several thousand dollars, but there is never a guarantee of recovering funds.
What kind of proof do you need?
He said if you’re continually getting calls from a telemarketing company, and the company can be identified, “we can issue requests to the company that we’re suing to provide all records of calls that they made to your telephone number.”
He noted you should also be able to get those records from your own phone carrier.
He said in addition to getting phone records, it’s always good to document the harassment yourself, keeping a journal along the lines of “I told so-and-so to stop calling me on this day, they called the next day.”
Glapion pointed out a growing number of telemarketer calls are made by sophisticated scammers, which is problematic.
“Those are nearly impossible to track down and I wish I could do more with those calls. A lot of them are just like these shady, unscrupulous, often overseas companies that not much can be done about.”
He said when a company uses spoofed numbers and area codes that aren’t real, “it’s tough because you don’t have a call-back number to be able to identify the company, so with those you just have to try to essentially get them to tell you who the company is.”
He noted, “You can play along with them. There’s ways to do it, depending on how much time and creativity you have.”
But figuring out who they are and where they are can be very difficult.
Glapion said he typically only gets paid if he represents you and you win a financial settlement.
“You have legal rights," he said. "You don’t have to roll over and take abuse, the harassment — you can fight back.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com
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