Tired Of Telemarketers? Try Suing Them

In yesterday’s post on rude telemarketers and the people who hang up on them, reader/advice giver Amy Alkon said she just successfully sued a telemarketer in Santa Monica Small Claims Court—and won! If you’re one of those unlucky people who can’t get the calls to stop, here’s how she did it.

I recommend suing telemarketers. I just beat one in Santa Monica Small Claims. And they sent their New York corporate counsel! (They’re a huge international company.)

Anyway, I couldn’t have done it without the help of a guy in Sacramento—a total stranger who went out of his way to advise me. His name’s André-Tascha Lammé, and I found him through his site, KillTheCalls.com

He started it after he was getting 30 calls a day from mortgage brokers. He doesn’t do this for a living or anything. Like me, he was just pissed off that they were using his phone and eating his time.

killthecalls.com

P.S. If it’s an out-of-state company and you’re in California, they have to have an “agent for service of process” on file with the Secretary of State. You look that agent up on the SOS’s website and then just have the court serve them certified mail for $15. To sue them in L.A. and maybe in California, you have to have that in-state address—they can’t be sued at an out-state one. But legally, if they’re doing biz in the state, they must have the AFSOP.

Before all of you start contacting Mr. Lammé directly, you should check out his website, which has a lot of advice on how to successfully take a telemarketer to small claims court.

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. agnamus says:

    IANAL, but maybe someone who is can help me. How can sue over a federal claim (the Telemarketing legislation) in small-claims court which has state claim jurisdiction only?

  2. FrankenPC says:

    YEAH!!! Talk about giving it to “the Man”!!!

  3. agnamus says:

    Never mind about my first comment. 28 USC 1331 allows for concurrent jurisdiction for federal questions in state and federal courts.

    TMYK.

    • nuttish says:

      @agnamus:

      State courts are generally “courts of general jurisdiction” and have jurisdiction over any justiciable claim, which are any claims arising under state or federal law. The various state constitutions create their own court systems, and the scope of these courts’ jurisdiction is drawn directly from the state constitution and state statutes implementing them. People routinely bring all kinds of federal claims in state court, and some such federal claims like those under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act are usually brought in state court.

      28 USC 1331 is the federal question jurisdiction statute for federal courts. They’re “courts of limited jurisdiction” in the sense that Article III of the Constitution creates the federal court system and pretty narrowly defines the scope of federal jurisdiction. Congress enacted statutes like 28 USC 1331 to implement Article III, as the Constitution doesn’t provide all the rules necessary to manage such a complex system.

      The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is what this consumer brought her case under, is a weird statute for reasons that I won’t get into, but suffice it to say that the vast majority of courts hold that you can bring TCPA claims in state court, and indeed the legislative history indicates that a sponsoring senator intended for these cases to be easy to bring in small claims court. At least in the 7th Circuit you can also bring these cases in federal court under 28 USC 1331.

      For good information on the TCPA have a look at [www.junkfax.org] [www.tcpalaw.com] (a subscription service, but essential to pro se litigants), and [www.panix.com] (collects some good resources).

  4. jjeefff says:

    What was the judgment amount? And what was the claim made in court? I mean, what was the basis for the lawsuit?

  5. ddaq89 says:

    So what happened after contacting Mr. Lammé. How did they win the case??

  6. m4ximusprim3 says:

    More importantly: Will Small Claims Attack Dog become a contributing author, much like Tax Cat? In fact, can they maybe fight? Or be friends?

    Cliffhanger, indeed.

  7. HogwartsAlum says:

    That picture is great.

  8. JohnDeere says:

    shes hot for an old lady

  9. HPCommando says:

    California Small Claims is limited to $5,000.00 in damages.

    However, under certain circumstances, the Court can (and has) trebled damages up to $15,000.00.

    I’ve an uncle who has been doing this…and routinely getting the trebling of damages for a couple of years now.

  10. Chris, I believe that’s supposed to be Small Claims Attack Cat.

    But it’s OK. I know mistakes happen. Don’t get too worked up over it.

  11. HPCommando says:

    My error…

    $7500 is the limit for individuals, $5000 is the limit for businesses/corporations.

    Let the trebling begin…

  12. CaliforniaCajun says:

    Let’s see:

    You’re gonna believe Alkon, who posts IP addresses of people whose comments she doesn’t agree with – Alkon, who actually stalked and called a commenter’s place of work and reported the commenter to his boss – and Alkon, who offers none of the specifics about her glorious victory over the telemarketing forces of evil, even though she’s meticulous about

    You should have looked more closely into both Alkon and her claims. I’m not convinced she did the things she said she did.

    But by all means, give this troubled woman more traffic without trying to verify her claims.

  13. CaliforniaCajun says:

    Let’s see:

    You’re gonna believe Alkon, who posts IP addresses of people whose comments she doesn’t agree with – Alkon, who actually stalked and called a commenter’s place of work and reported the commenter to his boss – and Alkon, who offers none of the specifics about her glorious victory over the telemarketing forces of evil, even though she’s meticulous about detailing every little transgression by the occasional commenter – people she calls “little turds”.

    Odd that someone who gives out such authoritative advice on so many subjects including parenting, child raising, and polite behavior seems to be one of the most vindictive single, childless people I’ve read in a long time.

    You should have looked more closely into both Alkon and her claims. I’m not convinced she did the things she said she did.

    But by all means, give this troubled woman more traffic without trying to verify her claims.

  14. CaliforniaCajun says:

    Ah, yes. Amy “black women have litters of babies and can’t care for them” Alkon.

    I know this site lives and dies by the quick posting of new stories, but not looking a little deeper into Alkon is foolish. She’s a vindictive and petty woman – whether she visits that wrath on a telemarketer or on someone who calls her on her blatant racism.

  15. pwillow1 says:

    Okay, but how do I sue those telemarketers who make calls from a center in Bangalore wanting to resolve my unsecured debt or sell me prescription medication? I’d LOVE to drag them into court and win a judgment. But these days, I get calls from overseas which show a spoofed number in my caller ID box. I ask them, “What is the name of your company?” and they hang up on me. How do I go after them? I can’t even report them to the FCC, because I don’t have their name or a legitimate telephone number for them.

    I got three such calls today alone from three different spoofed numbers. Most times I don’t answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number in the caller ID box. Even then, some of these telemarketers (I know it’s the same one because the caller ID number is the same) phone eight times in one evening.

  16. AgentTuttle says:

    Keep a DAMN AIR HORN by the phone if you get eight in an evening.

  17. chrisaltesino says:

    This sounds good and funny but who has time to sue the telemarkers? I’m just happy the donotcalllist cut our junk calls down by 80%. That’s good enough!

  18. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Just a reminder that attacking the victim isn’t allowed, and the nasty attacks in this thread are both irrelevant and unsubstantiated.

  19. Crazytree says:

    I spend a lot of time in court… and small claims judgments are completely inconsistent… totally based on the personality of the [pro-tem] commissioner you get on any given day.

  20. sickof says:

    Is it possible to register or trademark your name, phone # and address since it is one of a kind and only you have and own it?? This way anyone wanting to use it or sell it must get your approval or risk being sued.