Prerecorded Voicemail Messages: Are Car Manufacturers Violating The Law?
Consumers have reported that they have been receiving unsolicited prerecorded calls and voicemails from car manufacturers.
These calls automatically play prerecorded messages when customers answer the call and sometimes leave a prerecorded voicemail when customers don’t.
Some car manufacturers are even accused of using “ringless” voicemail technology, where voicemails are automatically left on the customer’s phone without it even ringing.
Consumers, however, are complaining about this and have accused car manufacturers of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Several companies have been sued for violations of the TCPA.
Those in violation of this law may be compelled to pay up to $1,500 for every illegal call made.
Aside from the TCPA, consumers are also protected by the TRACED Act, signed into law in late 2019.
Under this, cell phone coverage providers are required to give additional protection to consumers against scam and spoofed calls.
Providers are required to use technology to detect and prevent calls of this nature. Civil penalties in violation of this law can go as much as $10,000 per phone call.
What Is The TCPA?
The TCPA is a federal law that protects consumers from any unwanted telemarketing activity. It was originally created to restrict companies from making telemarketing calls to consumers without receiving their previous express consent.
This consent depends on:
- the content of the message,
- the kind of device, and
- the technology involved
Unwanted telemarketing activities include:
- prerecorded messages,
- spam texts, and
- other unsolicited communications with telemarketing purposes
Even when consumers have a relationship with a company, i.e., bought previously from the company or is a patron, companies, and businesses cannot place automated calls with prerecorded messages without getting the consumer’s express prior consent or approval.
Prerecorded voicemail messages and calls that have a robotic voice on the other end make it impossible for consumers to ask to stop the call.
This makes it annoying, frustrating, and an inconvenience for consumers and may be regarded as harassing even.
It has been stated for a call to qualify as prerecorded, and in violation of the TCPA, the messages should be completely recorded from beginning to end without any human activity or interaction.
But this can depend, according to a court ruling. Calls that begin with “Please hold for an important message” have even been considered as a TCPA violation.
Why Companies Use Prerecorded Messages
Companies and businesses are always looking for ways to reach a mass audience.
And with the advent of technology, companies have exhausted what they can to use this tool to their advantage.
One of the strategies that a lot of companies and businesses use is ringless voicemails and prerecorded messages.
But what is the difference between the two, and why does the law prohibit them?
Ringless Voicemail Vs Prerecorded Messages
Ringless voicemails are calls that go directly to the receiver’s voicemail without the need for the receiver’s phone to ring.
The receiver does not receive an alarm of an incoming call, and the message just appears automatically on the voicemail box.
These calls are less intrusive, but they can be just as irritating, and sometimes even more as they are more difficult to stop.
They also take up space in voicemail boxes. And since they go directly to the voicemail box, it becomes easier for companies to bombard consumers with multiple messages.
On the other hand, prerecorded messages are recorded before a call and then played when answered or when the voicemail starts recording.
These messages are created with a human voice but often use digital or robotic voices, hence the term robocalls.
These are usually placed on automatic dialing systems that make it easy for companies to send to hundreds or thousands of consumers at once.
What To Do To Stop Receiving Spam Texts, Ringless Voicemails, And Prerecorded Messages
Consumers are given several options to avoid being bothered and inconvenienced by these types of calls.
Check the list below of what you can do to protect yourself from spam texts, robocalls, and ringless messages:
1. Register your phone number to the National Do-Not-Call Registry. This is a free service, and registration never expires.
This is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Although this technique does not stop robocalls from coming in, consumers are given the right to report and sue companies that contact them in this manner.
2. Block calls from companies directly from your cell phones or by installing call-blocking software on your phone.
Your phone coverage provider has their own software to detect spam calls and inform you about it whenever you receive one; there are various apps as well that can do the job or input specific numbers on your phone to be blocked.
3. Report incidences of telemarketing calls and messages to the FCC. This helps the agency understand how to better enforce the law on spamming.
4. File a lawsuit. Of course, if you are receiving countless spammy texts, robocalls or prerecorded voicemail messages, or ringless voicemail, you can file a lawsuit to ensure that that company does not send or call you again.
Consumers can receive as much as $500 to $1,500 for each offending text or call in violation of the TCPA.
Editor’s Note on Automated Prerecorded Voicemails From Car Manufacturers Class Action Investigation:
This article is created to inform you of the news about the violations by car manufacturers with regards to prerecorded voicemail messages.
If enough people come forward, there is a good chance to file a class action lawsuit against the culprits.
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