Six Top Tips for Consumers to Stop Illegal Robocalls

There is no full-proof method to stop unwanted robocalls, and real solutions require that the Federal Communications Commission use the laws effectively to regulate robocallers and require phone companies to authenticate all calls. Yet, the following tips can help consumers take some control.

1. File complaints with the Federal Communications Commission: Complaint data is the best tool federal agencies have to gauge the extent of the robocall epidemic. While filing a complaint may not prompt an immediate response, complaint data may prompt the FCC to take action. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is the only legal defense to robocalls and texts made without your consent, and the FCC is tasked with upholding and strengthening the TCPA’s rules and regulations. File a complaint HERE.

2. Add your number to the Do-Not-Call List: While the DNC list does not stop all robocalls, it is a valuable resource for removing your number from the call lists of companies that do not want to violate the law. Sources of robocalls that you do business with, such as banks or student loan servicers, and sources of scam calls that often have no regard for the law, will still get through. Add your number HERE.

3. Revoke consent: If you’re receiving robocalls from a bank, lender, or other company you do business with, they likely have your consent (hidden in the fine print) to robocall you. While they like having the option, it isn’t their right and you can revoke your consent at any time. Tell the caller you “revoke consent.” If the calls continue, contact customer service and tell them that you no do not consent to receive calls and that you want your number to be added to their “do not call” list. This won’t stop illegal scam calls but it will reduce the volume of robocalls you receive.

4. Don’t engage with the caller: Most autodialed robocalls include a prompt to press a key or give a voice command. DON’T! Pressing a key, even if the recording says it’s to remove your number from the list, tells the caller that your number is active and that you’ll likely answer future calls. Even worse, the voice commands can be recorded and used against you by scammers to represent consent to purchase products or services.

5. Don’t answer/block unknown numbers on your mobile device: Easier said than done, this will help avoid robocalls. But important calls can come from unknown numbers and most landline phones don’t have call-blocking features. Plus, listening to voicemails left by robocallers can be just as annoying, and costly (if you purchase phone service by the minute), so use this method as a last resort.

6. Install call-blocking apps: Various call-blocking apps, like YouMail and NoMoRobo, provide a free or low-cost service to mobile smartphone users that filter out identified scam robocalls and allow users to block specific numbers and report the calls. But typically these apps don’t help landline users.

Find more information at the National Consumer Law Center’s Robocalls and Telemarketing page.

Find an attorney that specializes in telemarketing and recorded calls (TCPA)

Credit Reports and Forced Arbitration: Will Congress Strip Americans of Their Day in Court?

September 2017

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Equifax was slow to alert the public to the data breach exposing the sensitive personal information of 143 million Americans. But the company was quick to protect itself by attempting to take away our day in court. Buried in the fine print of the website it set up to offer free credit monitoring was a forced arbitration clause and class action ban. The terms purported to apply to any controversy “relating in any way to Your relationship with Equifax” and to be interpreted in “the broadest possible” manner. Equifax eventually relented and removed the clause under intense pressure. But other credit reporting agencies also use “ripoff clauses,” and Equifax continues to do so for other products.

That is why Congress must reject efforts by Equifax and big bank lobbyists to block the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule that restores Americans’ day in court when big credit bureaus, Wall Street banks, and predatory lenders violate the law.

The CFPB rule restores Americans’ day in court, holds companies accountable when they violate the law, and brings transparency to the secretive arbitration process. It prohibits the fine print of financial contracts from having forced arbitration clauses that bar thousands or millions of consumers from banding together in court to address widespread wrongdoing. The rule applies to companies providing credit reports, credit scores, credit monitoring and other services provided to consumers based on information in the consumer’s file.

Beyond Equifax, the two other big credit bureaus also include forced arbitration clauses with class action bans in their products. For example, rip-off clauses can be found in:

A court of appeals found that TransUnion’s website “actively misleads consumers” into thinking that clicking “I agree” merely authorized TransUnion to obtain the person’s information, not to bind them to a forced arbitration clause.

Numerous problems with credit reporting companies include:

Access to the courts is critical for credit reporting problems. A jury recently ordered TransUnion to pay $60 million to 8,185 people – including active duty servicemembers serving abroad – who were carelessly mismatched with persons with similar names on a government watch list of suspected terrorists and drug traffickers.

Credit reporting is consistently a top subject of complaints to the CFPB.


equifax data breach chart

Source: CFPB (August 2017)

The CFPB’s arbitration rule gives Americans back their constitutional right to their day in court when credit reporting companies violate the law. The rule protects our rights so they don’t depend on the whims of big companies or the pressure of intense media scrutiny.

But Equifax and bank lobbyists are urging Congress to block the rule. The House voted to strike down the rule and protect bad corporate actors. It is now up to the Senate.

The arbitration rule has broad, bipartisan support. Almost 9 in 10 consumers polled want the choice to participate in a class action. The Military Coalition, representing 5.5 million servicemembers, and 310 consumer, civil rights, labor, and small business groups support the rule. Polling by the American Future Fund, a conservative super political action committee, found support from two-thirds of voters in Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, and Ohio. Leading conservative voices supporting the rule include the American Legion, Dean Clancy, the former vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, and Tea Party Nation founder Judd Phillips.

Our Founders fought hard to ensure that Americans would have access to a robust system of legal justice. The Senate must not do the bidding of Equifax and Wall Street banks by taking away Americans’ day in court.

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What are the filters on the ‘My Cases’ webpage?

After you have registered and log in, you will see filters on your unique “My Cases” web page. The filters will allow you to search the files you submitted by keywords. You can also sort by date, type of violation, state, city, zip code, servicer, and several fair lending categories, as well as by draft or completed submissions.

Can I save a complaint and finish submitting it later?

Yes, as long as you are registered and logged in when you begin to submit a complaint, you can save it and return later to add to or otherwise edit it. After you have registered and logged in, you can also review all of the complaints you have submitted. Each complaint will appear on your “My Cases” page. You can save your complaint as a draft, and add or otherwise edit the draft at any time. After 60 days your client’s loan number and his/her name and the address of the property subject to foreclosure will be removed from the database. You can also edit the complaint that you submitted through the Checklist. Your edited complaint will override the original complaint stored in our database. However, you will need to resubmit the edited complaint to each agency that you submitted the original complaint (if any).