About 2 years ago, I wrote “Pesky Robocalls from Rachel or Card Member Services Haven’t Gone Away! LET’S CHANGE THAT!!!” The sad thing is robocalls are still around. There definitely has been a lot of progress made though, as several companies responsible for these nuisance calls have been brought to justice. Back in July of 2013, it was reported that 10 companies responsible for the Card member or Cardholder Services were hit with the heavy hammer of the Federal Trade Commission. Prior to these companies, another outfit known as SBN Peripherals aka Asia Pacific was responsible for these calls. They had made their debut in 2008 and harassed the American public for nearly 4 years! Fortunately, not many people hear from Rachel anymore, although the FTC still has their hands full with robocall violations.
More recently, the FTC has taken action against Joseph Turpel, who sold the technology that masked phone numbers on caller IDs. Because of his enabling “telemarketers to make illegal robocalls, calling phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, and masking Caller ID information, he is permanently banned from telemarketing and robocalling under a settlement with the federal government.” His penalty was set at a little under $400,000, which is in temporary limbo because of his “inability” to make payments.
As a BBB employee, when I see actions like this from the FTC, I have to do a happy dance because I personally interface with so many people, who have been afflicted by these robocalls. I know how desperately people want these calls to go away and/or to get their money back. Masking phone numbers on caller IDs prolonged this robocall epidemic, as a lot of effort had to be taken to uncover the addresses of these companies, including taking legal action. The FTC rightfully socked it to them and permanently too.
I hope the FTC keeps doing the great work that they’re doing and also hope that citizens don’t lose hope, getting burned out when these calls seem to be never ending. As long as citizens keep reporting the calls, when they come in, that’s what it takes to put a stop to them. Citizens, government, and consumer protection groups all need to work together.
If you find yourself being afflicted by robocalls, do not hesitate to report them to the Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General, and your local BBB. Together, we can make a difference and put a stop to these nuisance calls and companies that may enable them with technology.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sercasey/259936333/”>i am real estate photographer</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>