“Travel Club” Telemarketer Fined $2.96M For Robocalling Consumers

Whenever we tell readers that it’s important for them to file complaints when they receive illegal robocalls, some inevitably respond that they believe it’s pointless and nothing ever comes of their gripe. But today, the FCC announced a nearly $3 million fine against a robocalling telemarketer following complaints from consumers who took the time to speak up.

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has released the details of a $2.96 million forfeiture order against Florida-based Travel Club Marketing, Inc. (aka Diamond Vacations, aka Great Vacations), Travellink Corp., Proven Results Direct Marketing Inc., Direct Marketing Travel Services Incorporated, and the companies’ owner, a man named Olen Miller. This is the FCC’s largest robocalling forfeiture order to date.

According to complaints received the FCC, these companies made at least 185 automated, prerecorded marketing calls without consent from the consumers receiving these calls. Of these calls, 142 were to consumers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

The calls — to both landlines and wireless phones — tried to sell consumers on travel deals, free vacations, and time-shares.

Robocallers must now obtain prior express consent for all prerecorded marketing calls. During the time that this telemarketer made some of its calls, there was still an exception for robocalls to consumers with whom a business had an existing relationship. However, this telemarketer had no such relationship with any of the consumers who complained so that doesn’t give the company a way out of this jam.

“It is unacceptable to invade consumers’ privacy by bombarding them with unwanted and intrusive robocalls,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, in a statement. “All companies, and their owners, who thwart the Do-Not-Call list should expect to face severe consequences.”

There are two ways you can easily file a complaint about robocalls.

First, the FCC has its complaint portal where consumers can file grievances about phone, TV, Internet, and radio issues.

Second, for people on the Do Not Call Registry, there’s DoNotCall.gov, where you can file a complaint or register your number to help reduce unwanted marketing calls going forward.

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  1. webalias says:

    It’s better that the FCC does something rather than nothing about companies that flagrantly violate the law. But I’m not convinced that these enforcement actions will really curb the problem, or adequately hold these companies to account. It will be interesting to see whether Travel Club Marketing, Inc. will actually end up paying the almost $3 million fine. If it lacks the assets to do so, what’s to stop Travel Club Marketing, Inc. from going into bankruptcy, and its owners from starting up another shady business to break the law — until they get caught (maybe), and the cycle begins again.