ARTICLE
19 August 2019

FTC Announces Robocall Crackdown

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Commission rounds up a posse, tackles 90+ separate actions
United States Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
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Commission rounds up a posse, tackles 90+ separate actions

Le Deluge

The Federal Trade Commission announced its latest major initiative against robocallers, those shadowy denizens of the phone-line ether that have plagued consumers since the internet subsumed all worldly communication.

And they have it coming; the problem of unwanted calls is growing at an astounding rate. Back in December 2017, we noted that the Federal Communications Commission claimed that consumers were receiving 2.4 billion unwanted calls every month. Today, according to YouMail's Robocall Index, the number of calls has increased to 4.4 billion per month. That's 145 million per day, 6 million per second ... you get the idea.

Lineup

The commission's "Operation Call It Quits" roped in 45 partners including a mob of state attorneys general, U.S. Attorney's offices in three federal districts and the Treasury Department. All told, the effort accounts for more than 90 actions "targeting operations around the country that are responsible for more than one billion calls."

Actions that originated with the commission include:

  • A temporary restraining order and asset freeze against First Choice Horizon, which was peddling fictitious interest rate deductions on credit cards and then opening accounts in consumers' names.
  • A suit against 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle, which also resulted in a TRO and asset freeze, for get-rich-quick schemes built around robocalls and a mix of other communications.
  • A proposed settlement with autodialer developer and operator Derek Jason Bartoli. The proposed agreement would ban him from robocalling for life and saddles him with a $2.1 million penalty.

The Takeaway

Does the commission mean business? It seems so. Along with the above suits, it announced settlements with another handful of companies in cases that were already being prosecuted. 

With this much heat being applied by the FTC's enforcement partners – not to mention the priority given to robocall enforcement by the Federal Communications Commission – it might be time to review the FTC's guide to compliance with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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