FCC lays down the iron fist on illegal robocalls

Mar 18, 2013
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FCC lays down the iron fist on illegal robocalls

We all know the feeling of receiving robocalls. These are when you receive a phone call and the other end is an automated message advertising a certain product, or in this case, attempting to get your support for a specific political candidate. It turns out that some of these robocalls have been illegal, and the FCC is cracking down on it as we speak.

Robocalls are allowed on most landline numbers if certain rules are met, but they are strictly prohibited to mobile phones unless it’s for emergency purposes or the person receiving the call has given prior permission. The FCC has cited two marketing companies for making millions of robocalls to mobile phones illegally.

Robocalls were made from Dialing Services of Roswell, New Mexico and Democratic Dialing of Aurora, Colorado, both companies didn't have permission from mobile phone users to call them. The FCC found that these two companies sent out millions of robocalls in 2011 and 2012, including the 2012 presidential election campaigns.

The maximum penalty for making illegal robocalls to mobile phones is $16,000 per call, which means that if each company made millions of robocalls throughout the past couple of years, they could end up owing billions of dollars in fines. It's estimated that 4.7 million illegal robocalls were made from Dialing Services and 1.1 million by Democratic Dialing.

Chris Kolker, founder and CEO of Dialing Services, said that his company is “simply a service provider” that makes it possible for another company to make robocalls. He says that his company doesn't make the calls themselves, and that they "inform customers about the laws, but [the company] cannot possibly police all of them."

[via NBC News]


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