How to go after robocallers

- Audio recordings of the robocalls illustrate the growing frustration Michelle Robertson felt, each time she got a call from her student loan provider.

"Stop calling my phone 50 times a day!" she said to one operator. "It is [expletive] 8:30 at night."

Robertson is suing Pennsylvania student loan provider Navient, who allegedly called her 705 times over two and a half years.

"To have them call seven, eight times a day, was just very depressing," she said. "You are depressed enough as it is when you can't make your bills."

Tampa lawyer Billy Howard says once she asked them to stop, the line was crossed -- from an attempt to collect, to harassment. 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 allows courts to impose penalties of between $500 and $1,500 per call. Howard has filed 400 suits, with one client awarded $275,000 for 220 calls received.

"Right now, there is no end in sight," said Howard. "They make so much money. When they turn around and pay someone $100,000 or even $500,000, it's a drop in the bucket."

If you want to file a lawsuit, Howard says there are three things you must do:

1. Ask the callers to stop

2. Retrieve call data from your phone company, to prove how many times they have called

3. Contact a lawyer with that information

"There are a lot of people that just simply don't know the law," said Howard. "There are a lot of people out there who probably could get rich."

Robocall tracker YouMail says in January alone, 44.6 million automated calls were made to Tampa Bay area codes. That's up by five million, year over year.

"They call people, wear them down," said Howard. "Harassing the hell out of them. Makes people pay whether they owe money or not. Unfortunately, it's a proven model."

In 2016, four million complaints were filed with the FCC, which is double the number from two years earlier.

One thing that could help your case is to record yourself telling them to stop.  But remember, in Florida, you have to tell them you're recording before you do.

Howard says it costs the robo-dialers less than a penny to make 10 million calls.

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