Ask A Lawyer

Tell Us Your Case Information for Fastest Lawyer Match!

Please include all relevant details from your case including where, when, and who it involoves.
Case details that can effectively describe the legal situation while also staying concise generally receive the best responses from lawyers.


By submitting this lawyer request, I confirm I have read and agree to the Consent to Receive Email, Phone, Text Messages, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy. Information provided may not be privileged or confidential.

Which Telemarketing and Junk Texts & Faxes Are Illegal?

by Alex Braitberg on Aug. 09, 2016

Consumer Rights Consumer Protection Industry Specialties  Communication & Media Law Lawsuit & Dispute  Lawsuit 

Summary: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers against telemarketers, as well as junk texts and faxes. If you have received an automated call, fax, or text message without providing explicit consent to the company, you may be entitled to $500 per call, text or fax.

What is the TCPA?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, passed in 1991, protects consumers against unwanted telephone solicitors such as telemarketers and robocalls, as well as junk texts and faxes. The TCPA limits the use of the automatic dialing systems, prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, and faxes used by companies without the recipient’s consent. If you have received an automated call, fax, or text message without providing explicit consent to the company, you may have a claim.

Who does the TCPA protect?

The TCPA protects against receiving unwanted phone calls, faxes, or text messages without prior consent. All advertisers must also present an “opt out” option either on the first page of the fax or early on in the message, phone or text. There are specific requirements that a company must follow when including an opt out option as well. Some requirements include offering a domestic toll free number or allowing the consumer to quickly indicate via dialing a number the desire to opt out of future contact from the business. Thus, if a business continues to contact the consumer after the consumer previously opted out, then they are in violation of the TCPA.

What does the TCPA do?

The TCPA

  • Prohibits unsolicited advertisement faxes without an existing business relationship.
  • Prohibits all advertising faxes that do not have the proper opt-out notice.
  • Bans telemarketers from contacting residents before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. local time.
  • Requires companies to refrain from making contact with a number that is on the National Do Not Call List.
  • Bans telemarketing calls that use an artificial recording or voice without prior written consent.
  • Forbids the use of auto-dialers to call cellphones or to send text messages to cell phones without prior written consent.
  • Requires companies to provide a toll free callback number so that recipients can register in the Do-Not-Call Registry.
  • Provides that telemarketers offer an “opt-out” option.
  • If a company has violated the TCPA, a recipient may sue up to $500 for each violation.
  • If a company knowingly violated the TCPA, a recipient can sue up to $1,500 for each violation.

Which calls to cellphones are illegal?

The TCPA bans all mass calls to cellular telephones unless:

  • The call was an emergency call; or
  • The call was made without the use of an auto-dialer or prerecorded or automated voices; or
  • The call is made in regards to health care; or
  • The call was made with the intention to collect a debt to or guaranteed by the United States; or
  • The call was made by a nonprofit organization; or
  • The recipient had previously given written consent to the caller.

Which junk text messages are illegal?

The TCPA bans all mass text messages sent to cellular telephones unless:

  • The text was an emergency text; or
  • The text was made without the use of an auto-dialer or prerecorded or automated voices; or
  • The text is made in regards to health care; or
  • The text was made with the intention to collect a debt to or guaranteed by the United States; or
  • The text was made by a nonprofit organization; or
  • The recipient had previously given written consent to the sender.

Which telemarketing calls to landlines are illegal?

The TCPA bans all advertising calls to landlines unless:

  • The call was an emergency call; or
  • The call was made without prerecorded or automated voices; or
  • The call is made in regards to health care; or
  • The call was made with the intention to collect a debt to or guaranteed by the United States; or
  • The call was made by a nonprofit organization; or
  • The called party had previously given express written consent to the caller.

Which faxes are illegal?

The TCPA bans all advertising faxes (facsimiles) sent to fax machines unless:

  • The fax has a proper opt-out notice; and
  • The sender got the fax number from the recipient or from a public source; and
  • The sender has an existing business relationship with the recipient.

In order to be legal, the fax must include an opt-out notice. The opt-out notice, at minimum, must:

  • Be on the first page of the fax; and
  • Be clear and conspicuous; and
  • Inform the recipient how to opt out of future faxes; and
  • Inform the recipient that the sender is required by law to comply with an opt-out request within 30 days; and
  • Include a domestic contact telephone number for opt-out requests; and
  • Include a facsimile machine number for opt-out requests; and
  • If both of the two above required numbers are not toll-free, an additional free way to opt-out, like a website or email; and
  • Inform the recipient that in the recipient’s opt-out request, the recipient must include their own fax number; and
  • Inform the recipient that in their opt-out request will not be valid if the recipient later grants permission to the sender to send faxes, or if they later request a fax from the sender.

Why do I keep getting calls/faxes/emails?

Even after requesting to “opt-out” of the phone calls, faxes, or texts, the sender may continue advertising. A company’s failure to respect a recipient’s request is illegal. Often time companies obtain this data from consumers without their knowledge or consent. Even though this law was passed in 1991, companies still violate it. Advertisement often remains a priority for these companies and they will continue to violate the TCPA until you hold them accountable.

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer

Lawyer.com is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on Lawyer.com is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by Lawyer.com. The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, Lawyer.com recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See Lawyer.com's full Terms of Use for more information.