Missouri’s Attorney General has won a $300,000 judgment against a telemarketer that violated the state’s do-not-call list. It is the third-largest award so far.
After reviewing the more than 14,000 comments left by living human beings, the FTC yesterday amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule to ban most types of robotic telemarketing calls. By this December, any recorded calls will have to lead off with an automated opt-out option; by September 2009, telemarketers will need prior written permission to contact someone—simply being a recent customer won’t cut it.
A report recently released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hails the Do Not Call registry as “an effective consumer protection initiative.” Since its inception in 2003, the registry has grown to include 132 million numbers.
The agency said the program’s primary goal of reducing unwanted telemarketing calls is succeeding, largely due to a “high degree of compliance by telemarketers.” The report notes that while roughly 1.15 million complaints were received in fiscal 2006 from 374,937 registered phone numbers, that was the equivalent of only about one-quarter of 1 percent of the numbers in the database.
Telemarketers are required to pay an annual fee to access the list so they know whose dinner not to interrupt. Still, the FTC put down its fork and left the table to fine 28 companies, including DirecTV, for calling people on the Do Not Call registry.