RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Tired of getting annoying robocalls on your cell phone? Consumers around the country have started fighting back. They're forcing robocallers to pay them thousands of dollars for breaking the law.
Not only are automated calls to your cell phone annoying, if you haven’t given your permission - they are illegal.
An online kit is helping hundreds of consumers across the country collect cash penalties from robocallers. The author says you can too because it’s the law.
You can hang up, ignore them, block them. But the calls keep coming.
YouMail Robocall Index reports robocalls to Richmond area cell phones went from 22 million in June 2019 to 28 million by November 2019. It says each Richmonder get an average 24 robocalls a month.
But 16-year-old Jackson Gosnell of Greenville, SC hears “ca-ching” when his phone rings. He says he just bought his first car, a 2012 BMW 328i, with checks he won in legal settlements from robocallers that called him illegally.
“You want to start taking the calls. You ask questions, then you’ll gather the company’s information, do a little bit of research, then you’ll send them a letter. The letter basically says, ‘Hey, you violated the law, you can settle with me now at this discounted rate, or I could sue you and you’ll have to pay the full penalties,’” Gosnell said.
He learned how when he bought a $47 kit from Robocalls.cash, which says consumers can sue robocallers for breaking the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
“Each call is worth $500 if you are not on the National Do Not Call List, and they’re worth $1500 if you are,” says Gosnell.
Gosnell says his parents help with the legal part, but he’s one of the hundreds of consumers across the country who say they’re collecting thousands of dollars in settlement checks. The kit’s author, Doc Compton, says robocallers often settle to avoid court.
“All of their information about their patterns and practices of their business can end up in a public forum, which could draw the unwanted scrutiny of Federal organizations, like the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission,” said Compton.
Compton says the point isn’t just to collect a financial settlement. It’s to stop the calls.
“I’ve had people ask me all over the country if this works so well, aren’t they eventually going to stop calling? Yes, that’s the idea. That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” said Compton.
And for consumers like Gosnell, it’s paid off.
“I’ve made a little over $20,000 since the end of March of this year,” said Gosnell.
Compton says consumers may have to negotiate or argue the law with the robocallers. Consumers who’ve been successful share their notes through a Facebook group.
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