More Action On Telemarketers

Another wave of actions against telemarketers who have violated the Do Not Call Registry. The six new companies who have reached civil settlements with the FTC/DOJ used clever methods to evade the Do Not Call rules. They will pay a total of $7.7 million in fines.

The companies are the Craftmatic adjustable bed company, the security services company ADT, financial services company Ameriquest, Guardian Communications, and a company called Global Mortgage Funding.

If you've answered the phone and there was no one on the line, it's because the telemarketers deliberately used "abandoned calls." That's so you won't have the ability to personally scream at a telemarketer to demand they not call ever ever again. The companies actually want to get your voicemail so they can leave you "blast" pre-recorded sales pitches. Craftmatic, which will pay the largest fine ($4.4-million), sent phony sweepstakes forms in the mail requiring people to list their phone numbers. That purported to establish a "pre-existing relationship" with consumers so they could call. Some of the companies also used phony caller IDs so you'll think a credit card company is calling because of a problem with your card, etc.

One of the companies, Guardian Communications, claims it does not have the $7.7 million dollar fine, so will only pay $150,000 at this time.

The FTC says there are currently 145 million phone numbers on the Registry -- and that the numbers will stay on there while Congress decides whether to make the registry permanent.

The FTC's website has more information: www.ftc.gov


Post Script: A spokeswoman for one the named companies that settled, security services company ADT, said it was not clever methods but unreliable software in 2003 that resulted in the company's failure to remove consumer numbers in advance of the deadline. ADT settled for $2 million charges from the FTC that its marketing including calling consumers whose numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry.