Robocalls During Election Season

A California man is suing several L.A. labor unions for robocalls to his cell phone during election season.  Rober Arkow, 62, is a veteran communications electrician for the city of Los Angeles; the group he’s suing includes his own union."This is a wholesale scourge of our privacy," Arkow said. "I want it to stop, and the only way you can beat them up is to hit their pocketbook.  Make them pay." Federal laws have forbidden robocalls to cellphones for two decades, but Arkow, who lives in Santa Clarita, has witnessed many violations over the years. He’s something of a crusader against robocalls and telemarketers; Arkow’s earlier activism against telemarketers was central to the creation of the national Do Not Call list, in 2001.Akrow definitely keeps his guard up with robocalls, saying, “Most people just hang up, but I don't do that anymore.  If they're going to annoy me, they better make sure they're in compliance with the law, or I will take them to court." In the past ten years, Arkow has sued almost fifty companies for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act; he’s received some $20,000 in awards and settlements. "I don't do this for a living," Akrow said. "But I honestly believe people could actually make a living doing this.""My telephone shouldn't be bombarded with machine-dialed calls from people I don't know telling me stuff I don't want to hear," Arkow said.  He’s now suing the callers, the California Labor Federation and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 45 (this is his union). Akrow is asking $4,500 in damages, plus legal fees, in small claims court for calling his cellphone to pitch Proposition 30, the state tax measure which was on the Nov. 6 ballot.Trial against the unions is set for Jan. 17 in Chatsworth, California. Steve Smith, the labor federation's communications director, downplayed the trouble robocalls cause (and declined to comment on the lawsuit). "Most union members understand that when there are major issues or elections that might affect them, their union will be in contact," Smith said.The Federal Communications Commission sent out an advisory to political campaigns this past September, warning of enforcement of the robocall rules under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. "Prerecorded voice and autodialed calls (including live calls, prerecorded voice messages, and text messages) may NOT be delivered to cellphones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the prior express consent of the called party," the FCC wrote. Robocalls to landlines are allowed, if the callers quickly identify themselves, and “robots” can call cellphones with emergency information.Akrow has an ally in Steve Largent, president of the wireless industry trade group CTIA-The Wireless Association, who complained to the FCC about political campaigns contacting voters through their cellphones. Largent wrote, "Just weeks into the primary season, wireless carriers have experienced a significant increase in consumer complaints and inquiries made to their customer call centers regarding unwanted text messages sent by political campaigns."So, what should you do when you get a robocall or an unsolicited text message?  Hang up the phone.  Do not press 1 or any other numbers to get off the list.  Then, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation.  The Federal Trade Commission has stopped billions, yes billions, of robocalls in the last two years.  Agruss Law Firm, LLC, will do the same for you.  We will aggressively enforce the law to stop robocalls and unsolicited text message.  Not only will we stop the calls and text messages, but you may be entitled to money damages, too.  Damages in TCPA cases range from $500.00 - $1,500.00 per call or text.

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Submitted Comments

I would like to work with you folks. And yes, I am Robert Arkow mentioned in your article. Give me a call