We all hate telemarketers, robocalls, and similar telephone based spam, especially when it comes to our cell phones.
A few months ago, I was in a crappy mood and looking for something to rail against, when I got a robo-call. I went into full on attack bulldog mode. I got the company’s name, I got the owners of the robo-calling equipment, I learned all kinds of crap. Then I started writing letters.
In short, this particular robo-call company basically records a message for your business, calls everyone in the entire United States and, if anyone is stupid enough to “Press 1 to talk to a representative” transfers the call to your business.
The robo-call company makes money because it is very, very cheap, but not free to provide caller-ID services. Every time the call-ID pings them, they get a miniscule amount of money (like 1 cent or less), but when compounded over a million calls a day… it ads up.
The company says that it obeys federal law, but it doesn’t because they called my number (registered on the Do Not Call list). They also say that it is the responsibility of the client business to provide names not to call. Which neatly gets the the rob-ocaller out of any danger. I don’t break the law and even if I did, it’s the client’s fault.
This particular company is apparently owned by one person… and that’s where the stupidity of the government begins.
The company exists only in California. But California can’t do anything because I don’t live there and the calling company isn’t in California either.
The robo-call company is registered in Delaware. But has no offices or anything else in Delaware.
The client business that was responsible for the call was in Washington. But I’m not in Washington and neither is the company that makes the call.
I live in Texas. Which just doesn’t give a shit.
And the FCC just takes complains, but doesn’t do anything about it. I quote from the FCC letter I got today.
Thank you for contacting the FCC regarding possible violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and the Commission’s telemarketing and junk fax rules. Information provided in consumer complaints like yours helps the Commission to combat abusive or unlawful practices in these areas, including taking enforcement actions against individuals or companies. In this regard, the Communications Act authorizes the Commission to issue citations and, in some cases, impose substantial fines upon entities that violate telemarketing and junk fax rules.
Although the Commission does not resolve individual complaints, each complaint is individually analyzed and assists us in enforcement actions to protect consumers like yourself. You should be aware that the TCPA also provides for enforcement of the telemarketing and junk fax rules by state attorneys general and by individual consumers. With respect to the latter, the TCPA permits individuals who have received certain unlawful telemarketing, such as junk faxes or telemarketing calls, to sue the violator in state courts where they may be awarded up to $1500 for each violation.
So, the government isn’t actually interested in enforcing the law. After some research, I discovered that basically have to have a recording and the phone logs of the call in order to sue. And the contract wording that the robo-callers use gives them an out anyway, saying that it’s their client’s responsibility to provide them with names not to call (even the Do Not Call list).
So, we have to put up with robo-calls.
Thanks for nothing FCC.