(NBC) – Not only are robocalls to your cell phone annoying, if you haven’t given your permission, they’re illegal!
And now, an online kit is helping hundreds of consumers across the country collect cash penalties from robocallers.
You can hang up, ignore it, block it. But the calls keep coming.
YouMail robocall index reports robocalls in Richmond went from 22 million in June to 28 million last month.
It says each Richmonder gets an average 24 robocalls a month.
But 16-year-old Jackson Gosnell hears “ca-ching” when his phone rings. He just bought his first car with checks he won in legal settlements from robocallers who 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,'” said Gosnell.
He learned how when he bought a 47 dollar kit from robocalls.cash, which says consumers can sue robocallers for breaking the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
“Each call is worth 500 dollars if you’re not on the national Do Not Call list, and they’re worth 1,500 if you are,” said Gosnell.
Gosnell says his parents help with the legal part.
But he’s one of hundreds across the country who say they’re collecting thousands 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 here isn’t just collecting the 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 idea, that’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Compton said.
And for consumers like Gosnell, it’s paid off.
Gosnell says he made a little over 20,000 dollars last year alone!
This is specific to robocalls to your cell phone, not to landlines.
And just last week, President Trump signed a bill that increases fines for robocall violations and cracks down on the companies making the calls.
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