DO NOT CALL Does Not Work

DO NOT CALL was once the promising child of the Federal Trade Commission. By now the FTC should be sued for lack of child support. The DNC Registry has been turned into a defenseless database ignored from 8AM to 9PM by auto-dialers, scamsters and telemarketers.

Less than 10 years ago, DNC was promoted as the way for consumers to block unwanted telemarketing calls. Consumers were told that if they registered their phone numbers in the DNC system, telemarketers would be required to use the DNC database to regularly “scrub” the numbers entered. Violations were to run as high as $16,000 each.

There were exceptions: Political campaigns, charitable organizations and calls from businesses with which consumers had a past relationship. States were permitted to enter special exceptions, such as Mississippi ‘s exceptions for licensed car dealers, real estate salespeople, insurance agents and funeral homes.

The FTC’s idea of getting tough on telemarketers is deployment of the dread Weapon Of Accessibility (WOA). The FTC makes the DNC list “available” to about 1,000 law enforcement agencies. If the agencies want to enforce DNC in their jurisdictions, they can check the list. (The violators can move to other jurisdictions if that happens.)

The FTC compiles, telemarketers call. Measured by the number of telemarketing calls I get, telemarketers, scamsters and lobbyists support the FTC’s idea of enforcement.

I asked the FTC for how many fines have been collected. The FTC either does not know or does not want to tell. Instead, the FTC sent me lots of documents and Frequently Asked Questions, none of which disclose how enforcement is keeping–or ignoring–the promises made for DNC.

NOTE: This is the first in a series on the FTC and DNC.


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