A typical violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) has 3 elements. The first is that the calls must be to a cell phone. The person receiving the calls must either be the subscriber for the cellular telephone service or else the physical phone must be owned or used by the person receiving the calls.
The second element is that the calls must be generated by an automated dialing system. In other words, they must not be initiated by a person but rather a machine. Examples of these types of calls are calls where there is an robotic or artificial voice on the line, a pre-recorded voice, or voice prompts instructing the receipt of the calls to press certain keys. If a specific number is calling often, such as multiple times a day or multiple times a week, this may also be an indicator that an autodialer is being used to make the calls.
The third element is that these calls must be without the consent of the subscriber or owner/user of the phone. If prior permission was given to call the number, in some circumstances, this permission can be revoked. In these instances, revocation can be made orally or by writing.
Often times people receive calls where the caller id is blocked or it says private/restricted or unknown. Likewise, people will also receive calls from random numbers and when they attempt to call them back they are not in service or disconnected. These calls are most likely not actionable under the TCPA as they are probably not being made by a legitimate company or legal entity. Rather, these are scam calls made to try and commit a fraud on consumers.
If a legitimate company is calling, and they leave a voice message, it will identify who they are and provide a viable call back number. Likewise, a missed call from these companies will show a number that you can call back and actually reach that entity.