Raise your hand if you like making extra money.
Raise your other hand if you hate telemarketing calls.
Now keep both hands up if you’d like to be able to make money off those annoying calls.
Thanks to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), you might be able to. “Every call or text made without your permission is worth a minimum of $500, and if it’s intentional, which 99% are, each one is worth $1,500,” attorney Billy Howard told DailyFinance.
What’s the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?
Congress passed the TCPA in 1991 to place limits on telephone solicitations and automated dialing systems, including pre-recorded messages. The rules include:
- Solicitors must comply with all requirements of the national Do-Not-Call Registry.
- Solicitors can’t call residences before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. local time.
- A solicitor must provide his or her name, the company he or she is calling for and a telephone number or address where you can contact the company.
- Solicitors must comply with any do-not-call request you make during a solicitation call.
These rules apply only to calls placed to residences (not businesses), and there are a few exceptions for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, bill collectors and companies you’ve done business with (like ordering a product).
What Happens When Telemarketers Violate These Rules?
Companies violating the TCPA rules can be fined between $500 and $1,500 for each violation and — this is key — they pay those fines directly to the affected consumers.
How to Get In On the Money
You’ll need to lay the groundwork to profit from the next out-of-bounds telemarketing or robocall you receive:
- First, register with the national Do-Not-Call Registry.
- If you get a call that violates the rules, file a complaint with the FTC.
- Finally, do some research to see if there’s an open class-action lawsuit started by others who received similar calls from the same company.
As you can see, it’s not a quick process, but it could be one that rewards you with a big payoff for a little bit of work.
Want to learn more? Read the full story at Daily Finance.
Your Turn: Have you received money from a TCPA class-action settlement? How often do you get telemarketing calls?
Julie Mayfield is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in personal finance and lifestyle topics. She is the creator of The Family CEO, a blog about money and the business of life.