FCC Goes After Illegal Robocalls
The Sales Verification Company provides the finest third-party verification service in the industry. Our custom-designed campaigns remove uncertainly or miscommunication, complementing the sales process and protecting both the sales company and its clients. In fact, we dare say that TPV is the greatest consumer protection when it comes to over-the-phone sales. We’ve spent a lot of time in this space talking about the authority of the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, and some specifics about telemarketing rules and the Do Not Call list.
But there’s one bugaboo that’s gotten out of hand, and the FCC has put a bounty on its head: the dreaded robocall.
It’s robocall season, of course, and customer routinely receive computer-generated calls from one political party or another. Those calls are legal, as are those from charities, debt collectors and from parties with which you have an existing business relationship.
But the salesy robocalls have gotten out of hand, as reflected by the number of consumer complaints to the FTC. For example, the Commission received 65,000 complaints of robocalls in October of 2010. In April of 2012, it received 212,000. These phone spam operators of computer generated calls are a particularly brazen lot, as well, as they routinely disregard the Do Not Call list (violation of which can bring hefty fines).
Why do these outlaws feel so free to pester consumers? Basically, because it’s hard for them to get caught.
While the agency says it has shut down companies responsible for 2.6 billion robocalls since they were outlawed in 2009, it says it can't trace or block about 59 percent of phone spam because the calls route through a web of automatic dialers, fake caller ID handles (called “spoofing”) and voice-over-Internet protocols.
So the FTC Robocall Challenge has been issued. The agency is offering a $50,000 cash prize and a free trip to Washington, D.C to any individual or group that can stop the nuisance. The contest is open until Jan. 17. Each entry will be judged on whether it works, whether it can be widely implemented, and whether it’s easy to use. The winner will keep the intellectual property rights to the solution, but the FTC will have rights to it for three years.
Here’s hoping somebody can permanently disconnect the illegal robocalls.
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