A billion illegal robocalls
We all know that robocalls can be annoying. They can also be illegal. It’s against the rules for companies to try to sell you something under the guise of a political or charity-related robocall. But we’ve found that not everyone plays by the rules.
The FTC and 10 state attorneys general say that several companies, including Caribbean Cruise Lines, broke the law by using over a billion political survey robocalls to sell cruise vacations. The pre-recorded calls claimed to be from “John from Political Opinions of America,” and said people could get a cruise vacation if they completed a brief survey. Since the companies placing the calls used hundreds of phone numbers and changed caller ID information, the folks who received these calls couldn’t tell who was really calling.
So how do you know when a robocall is illegal? If you get a recorded call that includes a sales pitch — and you haven't given your written permission to get robocalls from the company on the other end — that’s illegal. But certain informational robocalls are permitted, like reminders for appointments. You've probably gotten robocalls about candidates running for office, or charities asking for donations; these are also allowed, as long as they’re not tacking on a sales pitch.
If you get a robocall from a company trying to sell you something, be wary about buying anything from them. Do you really want to do business with a company that’s trying to skirt the law? Let us know if you get a robocall at www.donotcall.gov. The FTC and other law enforcement agencies analyze complaints to spot trends and to take legal action against illegal robocalls. The FTC also is leading several initiatives to develop technology-based solutions.