Friday, August 28, 2009

Federal guvmint has a plan to end telemarketers phone calls

You're relaxing at home, eating dinner, reading, watching TV, maybe in the bedroom with your sweetie makin' some whoopee, and the phone rings. If you pick it up (which the wife and I seldom do) you will hear nothing. "Hello." No answer. If you're thick enough to wait for someone to respond for a minute or so, finally some furrin' voice from India or Outer Uzbekistan sez in an undecipherable accent over the noise of a boiler room, "May I please speak to John Q. Public?"

I am tempted to shout "Hell no!" and hang up but I usually just say no and hang up. You're the victim of computer-generated telephone calls, which is usually from one of your own credit card companies, who do not have to pay attention to the federal do-not-call lists you have joined.

Well there's good news and bad news for us harassed victims of telemarketers' "robo-calls."

Americans tired of having their dinners interrupted by phone calls touting car warranties or vacation packages will soon get some relief.

The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday it is banning many types of prerecorded telemarketing solicitations, known as robo-calls. Currently, consumers must specifically join a do-not-call list to avoid them. Starting Sept. 1, telemarketers will first need written permission from the customer to make such calls.

"American consumers have made it crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robo-calls they receive every year," said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC.

Violators will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call.

That's the good news. Now for the bad news.

Don't expect phone solicitations to disappear completely, though.

Calls that are not trying to sell goods and services to consumers will be exempt, such as those that provide information such as flight cancellations and delivery notices and those from debt collectors.

Other calls not covered include those from politicians, charities that contact consumers directly, banks, insurers and phone companies, as well as surveys and certain health-care messages such as prescription notifications. The FTC said those do not fall under its jurisdiction.

And calls made by humans rather than automated systems will still be allowed, unless the phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

...The ban is part of a series of amendments to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule that were announced a year ago.

Because the ban has been known, telemarketers already have been phasing out robo-calls, said Tim Searcy, chief executive of the American Teleservices Association, a trade group whose members include telemarketers. He said the public will not see much of a change.

Searcy also said the ban will do little to stop calls touting illegal scams.

People who get an unauthorized call can file complaints with the commission online or by calling 877-382-4357 (877-FTC-HELP).

So the federal guvmint has yet another program that will help us out. Except it won't work. So what else is new? Ronald Reagan's truism is proven again. He said the most feared words in the English language are "I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help."

And this federal guvmint that can't stop telemarketers from calling up at suppertime from Outer Uzbekistan is going to "reform" our healthcare and "fix" our economy by taking over the big banks, the auto industry and another part of private enterprise they choose to control?

God save us, because Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the powers that be in Washington surely will not.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Telemarketing nowadays has been making the boost to our online industries. Planning to stop and end its operation will surely make some business establishment its fall down. I hope that if they really want to end it, they should propose something that may keep online business from falling down.

Danielle

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