Why DO NOT CALL Doesn’t Work


Just like any other large organization that feels compelled to publish a mission statement, the Federal Trade Commission states a mission and dodges implementation. At least the FTC mentions consumers:

The mission of the Federal Trade Commission is to prevent unfair competition and to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the marketplace. (From a speech by its Commissioner in 2001)

The FTC…is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. (From the current FTC website)

As for the consumer protection part, if FTC “management” thinks it is protecting consumers from, say, telemarketing scams, then no one at the FTC subscribes to The New Yorker, The Economist, New York Magazine and The New York Review of Books. Or listened to the circulation managers that I spoke with at each publication: Plenty of first-hand evidence of how telemarketing scams are raking in hundreds of thousand of dollars by “deceptive acts” to get consumers to believe that a legitimate subscription renewal offer has been made—with full approval of these publications. After collecting for an expensive renewal, the scamsters have a bonus: Access to credit card payment approval info and future automatic renewals for an undisclosed service.

Each publication gave no such authorization and has no connection to the various scamsters who continually call. How do the scamsters get away with it—especially when calling registered Do Not Call numbers like mine?

It’s easy: Complaints to the FTC’s DNC are sent to a database where, hopefully,

a state attorney general will have time and interest to go after a scamster—provided the scamster stays put in the attorney general’s home state. If a scamster relocates to Florida, subcontracts calls to a Colorado auto-dialer that calls me in New Jersey about a publication from New York, no one will prosecute. The scamsters know it. Does the FTC know it?

Scamster Incentives: Gross revenues in the tens of millions of dollars.

FTC Actions: Mission statements

NOTE: This is the 2nd in a series on DNC and the FTC.

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