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PD Editorial: When the do-not-call list gets ignored

  • (Roswell Daily Record)

If I’m on the “do-not-call” list, why do I keep receiving robocalls and other unrequested solicitations?

You’re not alone if you’ve asked that question, particularly during election season. The answer may be what you already suspect: Many telemarketers and businesses don’t care. They’re calling you anyway.

Businesses have long shown little respect for the fences erected by the do-not-call list. But as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, those fences are being ignored more than ever.

In 2011, the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the list, received roughly 2.6 million complaints about violations. Last year, an election year, the number increased 54 percent to nearly 4 million.

The main problem: technology. Most big companies still respect the list, but many smaller companies are taking advantage of technological advances that make it easier and cheaper to make automated calls.

One particularly annoying development is the automated robocall that loops in a live telemarketer as soon as a human answers. According to the Times, some are using technology that tricks residents into believing the call is from a relative or a friend. Or they simply hide the origin of the call to get around caller-ID screens.

“These are fraudsters, and they were never going to comply with the do-not-call list,” Lois Greisman, associate director of the FTC’s division of marketing practices, told the Times.

But the FTC is not giving up. Since the Do-Not-Call Registry was created 10 years ago, the FTC has taken action against 530 businesses and individuals accused of violating the list. Just last month, the FTC announced the biggest fine to date. The Florida-based home-financing firm Mortgage Investors Corp. agreed to pay $7.5 million. It was a handsome victory for the FTC, but it’s small victory in the grand scale of things, given that some 221 million phone numbers are now listed on the registry.

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