I was heartened by the news a few weeks ago that the Federal Communications Commission finally is cracking down on telemarketers’ robocalls. A man named Denny had just called me to see if I had any ideas about stopping such calls hawking credit cards or additional bank services he doesn’t want.
Actually, we talked a bit and commiserated. He said he was tired of the calls filling up his voice mail, and how he does not want to race to answer the phone just to hear a machine. At the same time, he doesn’t want to miss a call from someone he does want to talk to.
I told him of the same, “last chance to take advantage of this opportunity” calls I’ve been getting over and over during the past year. And, even more annoying are the new calls I’ve been getting that make it sound like I called Them. As soon as I pick up the phone, a recording tells me to hang on and someone will get to me just as soon as an associate is available. Huh? I tried hanging on for awhile, once, so I could tell them I am on a no-call list and to quit calling me. I finally gave up.
(For the record, people can file online complaints about annoying calls at: http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm, provided they know who the offender callers are).
Anyway, on Feb. 15 the Associated Press reported that the FCC decided: “it will now require telemarketers to obtain written consent from people before placing a robocall. Written does not mean handwritten, though — electronic forms are OK.
“The new rules also eliminate a loophole that allowed telemarketers to place robocalls if they had an ‘established business relationship’ with the consumer. Now, they will have to obtain consent even if they had previously done business with the person they want to call.
“Telemarketers will also have to provide an automated way for people to revoke their consent to the robocall by pressing a few keys on their phone during the call. If this happens, the new rules require telemarketer to add the person to the company’s do not call list.
“The FCC said it is not changing rules that apply to informational robocalls, such as airline flight updates, school notifications or warnings about suspicious bank account activity.”
The FCC and the Federal Trade Commission already had rules aimed at preventing unwanted marketing calls, the story says. “But the FCC said despite this, ‘too many telemarketers, aided by autodialers and prerecorded messages, have continued to call consumers who don’t want to hear from them.’ ” ( story is at: http://news.yahoo.com/fcc-adopts-rules-against-robocalls-194305538.html)
That news excited me more than anything else that came across the newswire that day — until I realized no one will comply unless the FCC hammers those who ignore the rules. Like the ignored no-call list?
Last night when I got home from work there was a message on the machine. With the FCC’s new ruling, I knew it should be from someone I know or deal with. Surprise, surprise. Once again, it was my LAST chance to take advantage…