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An act passed in the United States in 1991 and taking effect in December, 1992. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act is basically intended to keep telemarketers from becoming too much of an annoyance, although of course it doesn't go as far as most people would like and make them illegal altogether. It only applies to commercial calls, not non-profit or non-advertising ones.

The key advantages of the TCPA are as follows:

  • Telemarketers can only call you between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. (I'd prefer 8 A.M. and 5 P.M., since I work out of the home, but it's better than nothing.)
  • Autodialers (computers with pre-recorded messages) are forbidden to call pagers and cell phones. Fax "spam" is also verboten.
  • A "do not call" list must be maintained and honored. After one "error", penalties can be incurred.
  • If a "do not call" request is not honored, the callee has the right to sue for $500 in damages, per violation. The FCC itself can penalize companies if complaints are filed with them against a violator.

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