Feature Films For Families—the company that’s been phone-spamming random people over the past few weeks—follows no man’s law! The nonprofit Smart Television Alliance, which works to educate parents on how to improve the television experience for kids*, discovered that the company was using its name without permission.
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Hooray for Verizon Wireless! Wait, what? The cellular carrier has just filed a lawsuit against Feature Films For Families for illegally telemarketing. Specifically, they’re accusing the company of using an auto-dialer to cold call hundreds of thousands of Verizon Wireless customers earlier this month, which is illegal according to NJ state laws (where the suit was filed) and the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
We were wondering how Feature Films For Families, the company that’s randomly calling home lines and cellphones to sell a movie to people who are on the Do Not Call list, was able to get around federal and state telemarketing rules. It turns out they’re hiding behind a non-profit, and non-profits are exempt from following the Do Not Call list. Something similar happened in 2006 between Feature Films For Families and a different non-profit named the Dove Foundation, and the state of Missouri fined them $70,000. It might be time for you to start filing complaints with your state Attorney General and the FTC.
Oh no, someone’s gone and made a terrible looking half-animated, half-live action, religious-on-the-down-low version of this beloved children’s book. That’s bad enough, but then they decided to direct-market it to households by cold calling strangers and offering them a “producer’s guarantee” that if they don’t like it, they can purchase other movies from FamilyTV.com for $4 each. Update: Here’s how the company producing the film is sneaking past the Do Not Call rules.
This telemarketer has had it up to here with all of you people at home hanging up on her every time she needs to sell you something! Randall Whited in Austin, Texas, received an earful recently, when he answered the phone shortly after hanging up on the unnamed telemarketer.
We’ve been getting a lot of emails lately from people who are fed up with telemarketers ignoring the Do Not Call list and want to take the bastards to court. Now, to be fair, sometimes the people who email don’t fully understand what is and what is not allowed under the law.
Would you buy DSL service from a company that either doesn’t care about Do Not Call lists or doesn’t know how they work? A man in Missouri was harassed to the point where he considered calling the police, because no matter what he did, AT&T wouldn’t stop calling. Every time he tried contacting AT&T to get it to stop, he ended up in automated phone systems with recorded messages, busy signals, and disconnections—but never a live person. Only after he wrote to a local consumer advocacy columnist did AT&T pay attention and turn off the telemarketing fire hose. AT&T didn’t, however, explain why they were targeting this person, or whether anyone else is facing the same barrage of calls.
Reader Brian says that he’s getting weird scammy calls about “lowering his interest rates” and would like to know what he should do about it.
Reader Ron is annoyed that Domino’s Pizza will not stop calling his cellphone 1-3 times a week to let him know the specials. Yuck!
If You Love Junk Mail, Visit The Direct Marketing Association's Advocacy Website "MailMovesAmerica.org"
Did you know that “advertising mail is under threat?” It’s true! But what can you, the consumer who loves junk mail, do to stop the 15 states that, in 2007, “proposed the creation of state Do Not Mail registries, similar to the national do not call registry”? The Direct Marketing Association has set up a website just for you!
Every day for the past eight months, Dell has called Kat to demand payment for a bill she doesn’t owe. Kat unfortunately inherited the phone number of a Dell debtor when she started a new job, something Dell would rather overlook—along with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Kat has tried calling, escalating, and having the debtor tell Dell to leave her alone. Dell continually assures her that the problem has been fixed. And then they call again.
Never again will you have to worry about renewing your Do Not Call List registration thanks to Public Laws 110-187 and 110-188. Our newest laws provide a permanent stream of funding for the Do Not Call List and guarantee that registrations will never expire. Read the White House’s ebullient press release, after jump.
Now Dish Network calls me LITERALLY every day trying to get me to sign up again. I explain my situation every time and they treat me with disgust, as if I am making up some elaborate story because I don’t have the guts to tell them I hate their service.
The FTC will vow in Congressional testimony today not to purge numbers on the Do Not Call List while Congress considers making registrations permanent. Do Not Call registrations currently last for five years, and are set to start expiring in April 2008 despite the list’s broad popularity: 92% of Americans have heard of the list, 76% have added their number, and 92% claim to receive fewer calls marketing calls. Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hail the list for ‘restoring the sanctity of the American dinner hour.’
Powerful Members of Congress are backing measures that would prevent Do Not Call registrations from expiring. Though the list has proven wildly popular, covering 150 million numbers in a country of 300 million, the FTC currently expires listings after five years to ostensibly account for people who move or change their number. Proposals to make registrations permanent have already won over the editorial board of the Asheville Citizen-Times:
The popularity of the list confirms that few people want to have their dinner or other personal time interrupted to deal with a telemarketer intent on selling something. The argument that people can just not answer the phone doesn’t work for everyone. Those with loved ones overseas or with family members who need special care are usually unwilling to risk missing a call that might bring critical or time-sensitive information.
We Use Illegal Telemarketing Not To "Change Your Do-Not-Call Status," But To "Give You An Opportunity To Change Your Do-Not-Call Preference"
DirecTV is defending automated sales calls to Do Not Call List subscribers as “informational,” and “not telemarketing.” The satellite TV provider recently called customers to say: “Because you are on our Do Not Call List, we can’t call you with all of our super-awesome special promotions.” This bothered reader Nina, who fired off angry letters to both DirecTV CEO, Chase Carey, and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Nina received the following pigheaded reply from DirecTV counsel, Rose Foley:
The “Do Not Call List” comes with a built in expiration date, and the date is coming soon for people who signed up for the list when it first started.
According to a reader who works as a telemarketer for a timeshare company, it’s not enough to say say, “Stop calling me,” to get yourself off a company’s calling list, you must unequivocally request the removal.