Are You Entitled to a Robocall Settlement?

There are many types of robocalls out there—some legal and others anything but legal. Still, what most people think of when they hear the word robocall is a type of unwanted, pre-recorded, and automated phone call that’s either trying to sell them something or make them fall for a scam. Illegal robocalls can be an absolute pain in the neck, but there are legal ways to seek indemnification for your troubles. Depending on the circumstances, the verdicts and settlements you’re potentially eligible for can vary from tens to—albeit rarely—hundreds of thousands of dollars.

ConsumerNotice.org reported that the largest robocall lawsuit verdict in U.S. history involved a federal lawsuit against the satellite television company Dish Network and received final approval of $61 million. The people affected by Dish Network’s telemarketing call were eligible to receive up to $1,200 per call.

We’ve written about some of the most famous robocall lawsuits in a separate blog post.

$12.5m Cruise Line Class Action Robocall Settlement Granted Final Approval

A company called Resort Marketing Group—which represented cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Carnival—purchased hundreds of thousands of pieces of consumer data from a third-party broker in 2012. Thanks to autodialer technology that allowed them to call hundreds of people simultaneously, they started bombarding consumers with unsolicited telemarketing calls advertising a free cruise contest. By spamming thousands of people with pre-recorded marketing messages without their consent, Royal Marketing Group violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Since the settlement against the Group was approved in July 2017, 274,851 claims have been filed, and the class action settlement totaling in $12.5 million was granted final approval in October 2019. The average settlement given to class members amounted to $22 each.

How to Recognize a Robocall Scam?

When dealing with robocalls, a well-known proverb comes to mind: Know your enemy.

Scammers are getting more creative by the day, and it may feel increasingly difficult to keep track of their devious schemes and patterns. Nonetheless, all phone scams will have a few things in common that you can learn to recognize in order to protect yourself better.

  1. Companies behind scam calls are often impersonating legitimate companies and government agencies such as banks, schools, Social Security Administration, the IRD, your insurance provider, etc. They may even spoof their phone number to make it look like it belongs to a particular institution.
  2. Some scammers target particular groups and minorities. The most well-known examples involve robocalls in Mandarin that focused on Chinese-speaking nationals living in the U.S.
  3. The narrative of most scam calls implies that there has been some sort of trouble, which can only be solved if you wire funds immediately or reveal personal information.
  4. At some point, you will be asked to divulge some crucial information about yourself. The con artists are after your personal or financial information that they can later use to withdraw funds from your accounts.

You should never reveal your personal information to an automated phone call or interact with the robocall in any way. If the caller is legitimate, they will leave a voicemail, contact you in a way that will enable you to verify their validity, and they’ll never ask for sensitive personal information through a phone call.

How to File a Robocall Lawsuit?

We’ll take you through some crucial steps required for filing a lawsuit against a company that has bothered you with (an) illegal robocall(s). For starters, it’s important to understand your consumer rights and differentiate between legal and illegal robocalls.

Was the Robocall You Received Illegal?

Even if you’ve registered your phone number on FTC’s Do Not Call Registry, some organizations will still be allowed to contact you via robocall legally. They involve political parties or candidates, some health care providers, charities, and companies you’ve allowed to get in touch with you via robocalls. Learn about all the exceptions here.

The table below should provide helpful guidance for determining whether the robocall you received was placed against the law.

Type of Robocall

Example

Legal/Illegal

Telemarketing

A company offering a product or a service for sale

Illegal, unless the company has your permission to contact you via robocall

Official information 

Any type of public service announcement or reminder (e.g., a reminder from your employer that your working hours have changed)

Legal

Debt collection 

A legitimate collection agency reminding you about your outstanding debt

Legal

Message from a political candidate

A political candidate or party contacting you to ask for support, a donation, etc.

Legal

Scam

·         An automated message from an impostor posing on behalf of a well-known and legitimate agency or company

·         The scammers will inevitably ask for your personal and financial information

Illegal

Message from charity

A legitimate charity asking for a donation or other type of support

Legal

What Robocallers Cannot Do?

It is against the law for the robocallers to do the following:

  • Place telemarketing calls, unless they have obtained your written permission to do so
  • Call your number if it’s listed in the Do Not Call Registry (this rule comes into effect 31 days after you’ve registered your number)
  • Contact you if you’ve specifically requested they don’t call you again
  • Call your house before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

You should also note that your registration on the Do Not Call list will not expire.

Can You Hold the Robocallers Accountable?

Before accepting any company’s terms and conditions, make sure you read the document beforehand. If you aren’t aware of what you’re signing up for, you may inadvertently give consent to the company to contact you through telemarketing robocalls.

The problem with robocalls is that they’re often coming from illegitimate companies that do not care about the Do Not Call Registry or any other type of legal regulations. In many cases, those companies operate overseas, which makes it difficult to enact state and federal laws against the perpetrators.

The scammers’ identity can be tricky to reveal, although that is beginning to change with DoNotPay. If the call is coming from an American company that is not following the guidelines from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you have the best chance of filing and winning a lawsuit.

Start the Process to a Robocall Payout

First, report the call to the Federal Trade Commission using this link. You will need to include the number on your caller ID, as well as any other number you may have been told to call back. This will help the authorities to track down the wrongdoers.

If the identity of the person or company behind the illegal robocall is known to you, you can contact a consumer protection law firm and start the process of requesting a settlement. If you don’t know who the callers are or would just like to avoid lawyers altogether, DoNotPay is the perfect solution.

How to Retaliate Against Robocallers With the Help of DoNotPay

According to a report by the spam-blocking app Truecaller, about $43 million people (nearly one in every six Americans) fell prey to a phone scam in 2019 and lost money as a consequence. Because robocalls are so cheap, USA Today estimates that it takes only one in 100,000 scam robocalls to “work” to make it all worthwhile for the scammers. The more people get swindled, the more robocallers will be encouraged to continue with their crooked activities.

Seeing that the issue with illegal robocalls in the U.S. has gone entirely out of hand, DoNotPay has developed a feature called Robo Revenge that’s aimed to tackle this rampant phenomenon. By holding the scammers accountable for their deeds, you can play your part in weeding out illicit scam calls and earn some money along the way, too.

Robo Revenge is set upon the foundation of DoNotPay’s virtual credit card, a tool that can generate a pseudo credit card number that’s not linked to your actual bank account. To the merchant or, in this case, the scammer, this will look like a legitimate credit card number, and they will, at some point, endeavor to withdraw money from it. Once they make that attempt, they will fall into a trap because they’ve just revealed their true identity. In most cases, scammers caught red-handed prefer to avoid court altogether and may offer you a settlement to make things right. The figure you’re looking at could go up to $3,000!

Bear in mind that the process will apply only to illegal robocall operations that are being run in the U.S. It is not yet possible to prosecute perpetrators that are based abroad and out of the American jurisdiction’s reach.

How to Catch Robocallers Unawares With DoNotPay

Vice - Cancel robocalls and sue robocallers

The next time your phone rings and a warning appears on your screen that this could be a scam, open DoNotPay on your device and get ready for action.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Answer the call and wait to be asked for your debit or credit card details
  2. Open the DoNotPay website in your web browser or through the app on your iOS device
  3. Click on the Robo Revenge button
  4. Select the Create Your Card option, which will generate a temporary, 16-digit card number linked to a free virtual credit card with no funds on it
  5. Give this false credit card number to the robocaller
  6. When the scammers attempt to withdraw funds from the virtual credit card, DoNotPay will access their name and location
  7. Enter the scammers’ details on DoNotPay in order to draft a compensation demand letter
  8. DoNotPay can also send a compensation request to the perpetrators on your behalf

How to Block Robocalls on Your Landline

Whether you own a traditional or VoIP landline, chances are that you’ve experienced the occasional bothersome robocall. Here is how you can protect yourself from them.

This Is How You Can Limit Robocalls on a VoIP Landline

If your landline is operated through a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology (in other words, the service is delivered through the Internet), the most efficient way to battle robocalls is to rely on the blocking features offered by your network carrier. Companies across the U.S. are actively collaborating to ward off the robocallers once and for all.

Carrier

Robocall Blocking Service 

VerizonStop Unwanted Calls
Kinetic by WindstreamCall Rejection
SpectrumNomorobo (third-party service)
Comcast/XfinityAnonymous Call Rejection
AT&TDigital Phone Call Protect

Please note that Nomorobo is a third-party service partnered with Spectrum, but you can use it regardless of your network carrier.

You may find that blocking robocalls on your landline is proving to be trickier than on your cell phone. The robocall blocking services can greatly limit the number of robocalls, but you can expect a rogue one to slip through the cracks every now and then.

This Is How You Can Limit Robocalls on a Traditional Landline

For traditional landlines that aren’t connected via VoIP, the best solution is a call-blocking device such as the CPR V5000. With it, you can block selected area codes, calls with no caller ID, filter out spam calls, and more. Note that you will need to enable the Caller ID service from your network provider in order for a call-blocking device to work.

How to Block Robocalls on Your Cell Phone

Robocalls are a complex and multi-faceted issue, so there is no straightforward, silver-bullet solution against them. To stop robocalls on your cell phone or, at least, reduce their number, you will need to combine several methods:

  1. Block numbers on your smartphone
  2. Use the service provided by your network
  3. Install a robocall-blocking app

Block Numbers on Your Smartphone

Most smartphones today give you the option of blocking a particular number. Employ this method if you’re being consistently targeted by the same Caller ID.

To block a phone number on your Android smartphone, do the following:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Select the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Click on Call Settings
  4. Tap on Reject Calls
  5. Choose the “+” button
  6. Enter the number you would like to block
  7. Confirm this action

The procedure to do the same on your iPhone is equally simple:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Click on the Recent tab to access your most recent phone calls
  3. Tap on the “i” symbol next to the number that needs to be blocked
  4. Select Block this Caller
  5. Confirm this action

Use the Service Provided by Your Network

In the world of telephone companies, SHAKEN/STIR has less to do with favorite drinks of fictional superstars and more so with a system designed to protect U.S. consumers. Mandated by the FCC, the SHAKEN/STIR technology represents a suite of procedures and protocols that applies digital certificates and cryptography techniques in order to combat call spoofing. Spoofing is a method used when the true caller doesn’t want to reveal their actual phone number. Instead, it makes their Caller ID number appear falsely similar to a government’s agency’s phone number or even to yours. With a few simple coding tweaks, a spoofed number can easily look like it’s coming from your ZIP code area.

SHAKEN/STIR allows both consumers and phone companies to verify if a call originates from the number displayed on Caller ID. If the call registers as spam, your phone company can let it go through but label it as spam or block it on a network level before it comes your way.

Get a Robocall-Blocking App

Smartphones and apps go hand in hand. What better reason to download a new app on your phone than to protect yourself from bothersome robocalls and dangerous scam attempts? 

When it comes to effective protection against illegal robocalls, these three apps are the cream of the crop:

Robocall-Blocking App

Pricing 

Benefits

Truecaller

  • Free for basic service
  • $2.99/month for Truecaller Premium
  • $14.99/year for Truecaller Premium
  • Detects unknown numbers
  • Rejects telemarketers and spam calls automatically
  • Gives you the option to record phone calls

Nomorobo

  • $1.99/month
  • Free for VoIP landlines
  • Filters all incoming calls and blocks those detected as spam
  • Enables you to block spam texts
  • Allows you to report illegal robocalls to the authorities

Hiya

  • Free for basic service
  • $2.99/month for Hiya Premium
  • $14.99/year for Hiya Premium
  • Detects spam accurately
  • Fends off selected calls
  • Identifies caller’s ID

There’s a Long List of Things DoNotPay Can Do for You

While getting rid of robocalls may be the most pressing item on your to-do list right now, don’t forget that DoNotPay can assist you in a variety of other ways, too. Do you need help with any of the following?

The first step to reaping the benefits our app can offer you is to download DoNotPay on any web browser or your iOS device.