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"Do Not Call" Violators Fined $1.2M

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the what-part-of-do-not-call-do-you-not-understand dept.

The Courts 185

coondoggie writes "A federal court today spanked two telemarketers with some $1.2 million in civil penalties for violating the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Rule. According to the FTC, the companies called consumers whose phone numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry without having obtained their express written agreement or having an 'established business relationship' with them. One group's telemarketers also allegedly abandoned many calls, by failing to connect the calls to a sales representative within two seconds after consumers answered, as required by law, the FTC stated. The cases were filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC."

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Penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637473)

Oh yeah!

Re:Penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637495)

Rob Malda's anus violators are fined -$20.

Re:Penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638201)

How do you fine someone a negative $20? Isn't that really just paying them? And while I will admit that the lame first posts are a high price to pay for the freedom to express ourselves here on slashdot, it is well worth the cost. That being said, $20 seems to be too high a price for anal violation. I have no first hand knowledge, but I'm reasonably certain that you can get that for free (as in "beer") and in some situations you would even be hard pressed to avoid it...

Re:Penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639215)

Whoosh!

cost of doing business... (5, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637503)

...don't think the telemarketers didn't factor fines like this in the price they charged clients.

This is $300 [realtytimes.com] billion/year industry.

Re:cost of doing business... (5, Insightful)

BradHAWK (1346147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637659)

They didn't fine the industry $1.2 million. They fined two companies $1.2 million.

Re:cost of doing business... (5, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637853)

They didn't fine the industry $1.2 million. They fined two companies $1.2 million.

Even so, $1.2 million doesn't seem like very much money to fine a large corporation for.

Having $1 billion in revenue instead of $300 billion doesn't suddenly make $1.2 million a big sum.

Oh, I see it makes the fine 0.012% instead of 0.00004%

If the FTC wants to be noticed, they should set a minimum of 1% of revenue for first time/minor offense of calling a few people on the do-not-call-list

The fine should be minimum 20% of annual revenue for a pattern of violations.

And the penalties should be much more severe for repeat violators.

That would actually encourage companies to obey the rules. A $1 million fine is like a fly buzzing around, that companies can ignore and still go about their dastardly business.

Re:cost of doing business... (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637889)

p.s. The FTC also needs the right to decide revenue on their own, bypass any tricks by the company's accounting department.

And also include the revenues of associated companies.

And levy fines against "holding companies" or other related companies artificially constructed to try to insulate profits or related orgs from liability arising from illegal business practices.

Re:cost of doing business... (2, Interesting)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638191)

And you expect the government to know all that? They can't even see red flags when someone claims to trade 1 million stock options on an exchange that at most does 200,000 trades in a day. (numbers approximated)

Re:cost of doing business... (2, Interesting)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640011)

They should be automatically tax audited and that used to determine the amount, and charge them extra for the untimely audit. Plus that will add to their pain, if we break the rules, we get audited.

Re:cost of doing business... (3, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637903)

There should also be other remedies available, such as prohibiting the CEOs of these companies from holding any company office for five years. That's the kind of penalty which sets an example to make other companies think twice about what they're doing, and I don't think it's disproportionate.

Re:cost of doing business... (5, Funny)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638033)

There should also be other remedies available, such as prohibiting the CEOs of these companies from holding any company office for five years.

Or maybe have to publish their own phone number(s) for 5 years.

Re:cost of doing business... (5, Interesting)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639129)

When a person violates motor vehicle laws badly enough, they lose their license to use a motor vehicle for some duration.

When a lawyer violates the Bar rules badly enough, they lose their license to practice law in that state for some duration (or forever, if you do the types of things Jack Thompson did.)

When a company violates telemarketing laws badly enough, they should lose the ability to telemarket for some duration. Prevent them from calling any customers (without the customer's explicit request -- if someone leaves your company voicemail asking you to contact them, that's okay) for a week for the first offense, doubling with each subsequent offense. Make it so that the punishment sticks even if they try to do some sort of corporate shell game ("No we're not HyperGlobalMegaCompuTech, we're GlobalCompuHyperMegaTech. See our freshly painted sign?") Eventually they'll learn (or be barred from calling customers for long enough that they'll go out of business before regaining the ability to telemarket.)

Re:cost of doing business... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638675)

Having $1 billion in revenue instead of $300 billion doesn't suddenly make $1.2 million a big sum.

*sigh* What a stupid statement. You must work for the US government.

Re:cost of doing business... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639475)

For someone who claims to know about business and numbers, your math sucks. It's 0.12%(hint, a billion is only 1,000 times bigger than a million), and that's IF they make a billion dollars. There are a lot of small telemarketing companies(far more than 300) so your numbers lack there as well.

Re:cost of doing business... (1)

mr_shifty (202071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639819)

Exactly... to the really big-money offenders, a $1 million fine is just worked into their future budgets as a 'cost of doing business'.

It needs to be something that either puts them out of business, or scares them into more legitimate business models.

Re:cost of doing business... (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640073)

The fine for serious violations should be the greater of 20% of annual revenue for each year the violations occurred or 150% of the revenue that came from the violations.

For added fun, charge the phone equipment with assisting in the violation of the do-not-call list and take it in a forfeiture. Yes, even if it's rented.

Penalties that don't even add up to the value of the crime are better defined as taxes. Imagine if stealing a new car off the lot was a $1000 fine (and you get to keep the car). Suddenly stealing a new car would be the new national sport.

If civil fines for individuals were scaled to the corporate fines, a speeding ticket would cost $2 or so and wouldn't affect your insurance rate. No need to waste time paying in cash at the courthouse, just mail a check.

Re:cost of doing business... (3, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638733)

So...a heard of wildebeest looses two members, that's not really much of a deterrent to the thousands.

And the two wildebeest didn't even die...they just got injured.

On the bright side...the $1.2 mil in fines will help the government pay for a telemarketer industry bailout.

Re:cost of doing business... (1, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637695)

Yup, this fine is just a speed bump. The fact that the Do Not Call registry made the law abiding companies change their business tactics or drop out of the race gives these companies that would rather take the hit less compitition. Less compitition = more money for them.

Of course I don't have numbers to back this up...I'm not sure that numbers exist for such things...but I'd wager to say that the major offending companies are probably making more now, even taking into account the spanking they're getting by the FCC, than they were before.

Here's something else to think about. Provided these are American owned companies, employing Americans, would it be better to just look the other way unless we're out of financial dire straights? As shady as telemarketing is, it's supporting and employing thousands of Americans every year. Granted, I've been telemarketed by my fair share from across the globe, but as far as domestic telemarking goes, it's not THE worst thing that could be going on with the strength of the dollar and the unemployment rate like it is.

Re:cost of doing business... (5, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637865)

If you don't think 1.2 mil isn't big dollars to a SINGLE business, as opposed to an INDUSTRY, then you are mistaken. If it was a multi-billion dollar company sure - but someone is gonna feel some heat on this.

Besides - there needs to be reasonable penalties. Just because a company has 100 million in assests/revenue does not mean they need to be fined 100 million for any infraction of any law. That would be prejudicial and wrong. It would be along the lines of how drug laws are racist (cheaper drugs, which tend to be used mroe by low socio-economic people aka minorities, get stiffer penalties then those who use more expensive drugs.)

So 1.2 million for calling is pretty fair. If they don't stop doing it the next judge can make it 10 million (cumulative penalties), and the judge after that can make it 50, and so forth until they get the message.

In the top portion of your message you said this was a "speed bump" but in the bottom portion you said we should look the other way because of our economy. These two statements clash. If it is a slap on the wrist the only people to be fired are those responsible for the screw-up...usually a few management. It won't cause massive lay-offs. Also - no we should not look the other way. We should not allow people to break the law because the economy sucks right now. Plenty of people work and make a profit without breaking the law.

Re:cost of doing business... (1)

daniorerio (1070048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638047)

Besides - there needs to be reasonable penalties. Just because a company has 100 million in assests/revenue does not mean they need to be fined 100 million for any infraction of any law. That would be prejudicial and wrong. It would be along the lines of how drug laws are racist (cheaper drugs, which tend to be used mroe by low socio-economic people aka minorities, get stiffer penalties then those who use more expensive drugs.)

Or, those drugs are cheaper because of the more heavy penalty involved when caught? I'm sure it will affect the price/demand somehow

Re:cost of doing business... (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638645)

Or, those drugs are cheaper because of the more heavy penalty involved when caught? I'm sure it will affect the price/demand somehow

No, not really. Crack heads don't really think about the penalties of getting caught. Also, most crack-heads don't know the difference between cocaine penalties and crack penalties....and relating to my first sentence, even if they did know - a drug addict wants/needs those drugs. If they can't afford cocaine they will go for the crack even if they know the penalties.

The reason cocaine is more expensive then crack is because it is a better quality drug and less adictive. You are paying more because you will less likely become strung out.

Re:cost of doing business... (2, Informative)

bdenton42 (1313735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639731)

If you don't think 1.2 mil isn't big dollars to a SINGLE business, as opposed to an INDUSTRY, then you are mistaken. If it was a multi-billion dollar company sure - but someone is gonna feel some heat on this.

Westgate Resorts http://www.westgateresorts.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=about_us.show_about_us [westgateresorts.com] was fined $900,000. They claim that they have "Over 10,000" employees, which means that the fine is less than $90 per employee (about a day and a half's pay at minimum wage). Just a small slap on the wrist for a company that size IMO.

Re:cost of doing business... (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637893)

If you accept the premise that most telemarketing, especially most shady telemarketing, is for rip-offs and other kinds of crap, then "looking the other way" as you suggest, is just a variation on the broken-window fallacy.

Re:cost of doing business... (-1, Flamebait)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637897)

no, those businesses can pursue legitimate and non-obnoxious advertising means. otherwise, let them and their employees starve and die, and let the buzzards pick the rotten meat off their bones. Most are Indian anyway.

Re:cost of doing business... (2, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637999)

Yup, this fine is just a speed bump. The fact that the Do Not Call registry made the law abiding companies change their business tactics or drop out of the race gives these companies that would rather take the hit less compitition.

Which is useful information in itself. I'm on the UK DNC list, and if I get a call it means that the company calling me is either incompetent or is employing shady, if not crooked, business practices. I always ask them which it is, and they tend to find it hard to return to script.

Here's something else to think about. Provided these are American owned companies, employing Americans, would it be better to just look the other way unless we're out of financial dire straights? As shady as telemarketing is, it's supporting and employing thousands of Americans every year.

Hey, so does organised crime, maybe you want to cut that some slack, too? Anyway, most marketing calls I get here in the UK seem to originate outside the UK (judging by the accents, which I realise isn't 100% reliable) because that avoids the UK law so there is no redress. Don't be surprised if the calls you get are from outside the USA, for just the same reason.

Re:cost of doing business... (4, Insightful)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638041)

Granted, I've been telemarketed by my fair share from across the globe, but as far as domestic telemarking goes, it's not THE worst thing that could be going on with the strength of the dollar and the unemployment rate like it is.

I really hope that's not what got you modded up.

When the harm you cause others is greater than the benefit you create for yourself, that is textbook economic inefficiency. It should be illegal. That's why we have laws against pollution. That's why we have laws against speeding. That's why we have countless laws against many things that a selfish individual would want to do, but which would harm others.

Yes, telemarketing falls in that class: a failed marketing call has inconvenienced the person who answered the phone. The marketer does not bear this cost.

And the state of the economy does not mean we should throw this principle out the window.

Re:cost of doing business... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639061)

When the harm you cause others is greater than the benefit you create for yourself, that is textbook economic inefficiency.
I was just thinking along these lines today regarding school snow days. We had a little ice storm here in Oklahoma, as we tend to do about once a year. The schools are closed. The roads are not really that bad, but the schools don't want to get sued by someone getting in an accident taking their kid to school. So instead of kids having a chance of getting in an accident on the way to school, now parents have to either stay home or take the kids probably 10 to 20 times the difference and take them in to work with them. The odds are significantly higher of a kid getting hurt by the school being out session, however the school doesn't care because at least the legal burden is not on their shoulders.

Re:cost of doing business... (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638999)

As shady as telemarketing is, it's supporting and employing thousands of Americans every year.

I call strawman on that.

With the same argument, you'd have to make drugs legal, all of them. Or child porn. Or concentration camps. They all do or could do the same - employ people.

The fact is: The "it offers jobs" argument is entirely hollow. If we made computers illegal today, sure there would be a couple million unemployed people tomorrow. They'd have different jobs by next week, when we find out that we still need work to be done, and people to do it.

The "jobs" argument is a pseudo-argument that pretends to look at things from a higher perspective. What it really does, however, is cover up the proper higher perspective, which is: What is the value for the local/national/global economy?

Telemarketing sells stuff. It does not create any additional value. It does have a negative economic impact through the damage it does to people who don't want to be called (time is an economic commodity, even if it's nominally spare time). I've not run the numbers, but I dare to say it at least equals out, given how many people's evening the telemarketers have to ruin in order to make one sale.

On the whole, telemarketing almost certainly provides a negative contribution to the local/national/global economy. Just like drugs or concentration camps, so it needs to go the same way - outlawed.

Footnotes:
a) I'm aware "drugs" is a very high summary here and not all drugs fit equally
b) I've not made nor do I intend to make an economic "analysis", however rough, on the topic of child porn, that's why it's missing in the second enumeration

Bullshit. (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638463)

...don't think the telemarketers didn't factor fines like this in the price they charged clients.

When you solicit someone over the telephone who knows they're on the DNC, before they can even start to complain, you've already announced your intentions, and more importantly, the company you're calling on behalf of. If a telemarketer calls a customer on the DNC on behalf of a client, and word gets back to them, that client's business is gone instantly.

DNC violations are taken very seriously by professional telemarketing firms. Furthermore, in the telemarketing business, the costs associated with dialing illegally are usually so high that, when it happens intentionally or through some type of technical failure, people often get fired. And yes, there's plenty of ways to get fined or sued aside from calling DNC numbers.

Re:Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638711)

Nope. I've had telemarketers refuse to tell me what business they represent. I had "Card Services" call me once or twice a week. They'd hang up the second I went off script (except one who started swearing at me). I asked dozens of times for them to stop calling. I filed complaints. I even tried to play along. They said I wasn't eligible, only to call back two days later. This went on for over a year and a half. Telemarketers are assholes. Stop pretending otherwise and get a decent job.

Re:cost of doing business... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638819)

This is $300 billion/year industry.

The US population is roughly 300 million. So, telemarketing revenues are about $1,000 for every person in the US? That doesn't pass the sniff test.

Thats good to hear. (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637505)

Many judges are not sympathetic towards people who report the "Do Not Call" violators. They see the people who do report them as whiny people who are abusing the judicial system for money.

Telemarketing, Spamming, and even Billboards, are what I call bad advertising. They advertise without giving any advantage to the community or benefit to the end user, or costs them in some ways.

Advertising that helps offer free services, or reduced cost services are good advertising, wither or not this happens is at the ethics of the person giving the service, but not the advertiser.

Re:Thats good to hear. (1, Insightful)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637611)

I've never heard any evidence of your statement regarding judges. Care to elaborate? I would have suspected that with more straight forward laws, such as this one, that judges could make more cut and dry opinions and not have any personal opinion injected to decisions. The way they're supposed to.

Re:Thats good to hear. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637945)

Bennett Haselton has [judgejokes.com] documented [judgejokes.com] several [judgejokes.com] examples [judgejokes.com] . The incident based upon which he filed a formal complaint [judgejokes.com] against Judge Jorgensen is the most egregious example.

/CF

Re:Thats good to hear. (1)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640359)

I do appreciate the links, except that they have nothing to do with the DNCL

Re:Thats good to hear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637613)

I agree about the judge thing. It's too bad really, as I don't want any money from these idiots calling me: I just want the calls to stop. I don't want to take them to court either as I don't want to spend time or money on it. There are probably many people who are in the same boat I am - we still get calls from telemarketers but don't want to spend precious time or money on stopping them. I imagine these companies know that most people aren't going to put much effort into a complaint so they figure they can just keep calling and only have to pay out once in a great while.

Re:Thats good to hear. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637615)

If a judge is unsympathetic, just add his number to every telemarkers list. Wait for him to file a lawsuit, then show up on the side of the telemarketers against him and use his own official words against him in court.

Judges are not supposed uphold the law, and if the LAW says I get $500 if you call me after I am on teh DNC list, then the judge should order the telemarketer to pay the penalty of calling me.

Judges that selectivly enforce the laws on the books are not judges, but corrupt officials -- even if they do not take bribes.

Re:Thats good to hear. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637977)

If Judges are actually not supposed to uphold the law, then it sounds reasonable he lets telemarketers go.

Making a telemarketer pay could be considered upholding the law...

Re:Thats good to hear. (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637693)

Many judges are not sympathetic towards people who report the "Do Not Call" violators. They see the people who do report them as whiny people who are abusing the judicial system for money.

Many Slashdot posters [slashdot.org] are inclined to make vague, sweeping populist statements without a shred of evidence to back them up. [Citation needed [wikipedia.org] ]

Re:Thats good to hear. (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638031)

They may be "vague sweeping populist statements" to you, but if you had been paying attention here over the years, you would see that just about every report of such cases that has made its way to slashdot has played out pretty much exactly as claimed. Try reading up on Bennett Haselton [google.com] and his efforts to use the law to punish do-not-call violators.

Re:Thats good to hear. (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639501)

I've never understood why it was decided to have a do not call list, instead of a telemarketing list where *all numbers* used for this were listed.

If they did that, calls would be trivial to screen, and there wouldn't be a list of people who don't want to be annoyed to start with.

Spanking's too good (4, Insightful)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637561)

If anyone deserves a repeat spanking it's these people. I have to deal with enough marketing crap coming via my inbox & letterbox without having people call my phone all the time too. It's especially galling when people have explicitly indicated that they don't want to be called in the first place, as they have here.

I wish the whole concept of telemarketing would just die a horrible death. Who really wants to deal with persistent salespeople when they're trying to chill out at home and enjoy the precious little time that isn't spent staring at their work PC?

More spanking please.

Re:Spanking's too good (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638329)

I didn't know that the US had brought back corporal punishment. I applaud it's use in this case, and wonder whether it will be televised?

Re:Spanking's too good (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638489)

DirecTV was BY FAR the most persistent and annoying telemarketers. They would call, when I said "hello" they'd pretend to be a friend..
"Hey man, how's it going? What have you been doing with yourself?"

Or

"Yo, wazzup! Thought I'd lost your number."

The funny thing was that they sometimes transposed my first and last names, or screwed up the pronunciation badly... Even after the initial, "No thank you, not interested," they'd continue their spiel...

Sometimes I'd just hang up... sometimes, being polite, I'd continue with "no thank yous"..

They'd ask for sympathy: "Look, I really need to get four subscriptions or else I lose my job. You can cancel after a month."

They'd call me dumb: "What do you mean? You don't want to save money on your cable bill? You must be rich."

Or they'd just keep on reading no matter what I said... You needed to be careful here because they would do things like:
"OK, so I'm just going to go ahead and send this offer out to you. I'll need to verify your home address." Then eventually, "And now I need a major credit card for identification."

Re:Spanking's too good (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639613)

I have caller id and will not answer the phone when a telemarketer calls. I have an answer machine and most of them will not even leave a message. My phone company will not allow my phone to ring if the name or phone number is unknown. They get around this by having the name toll free number so I do not answer them and again they leave no message. I wish they would pass a law that they can not call from a unknown name and number. Last year even the political parties would call from a unknown name but at least they would leave a message. There are still rare times when they call early in morning when I do not have my glasses on and can not read the caller id and I am not near the answer machine. The same goes for the mail I receive. Most of it goes from the mail box to the recycle box without being opened. They too have no return address so I can identify the sender before opening it. They will offer you anything for a very small price until you get to the store to find out they do not have any of them and probably never did have any of them. They get around that by printing in fine print no rain checks. I once received a flier that stated that I won $400. No purchase necessary. All I had to do was to show up at the car dealership and claim the prize. I showed up and there were several other people there to claim there prizes. We all gave our scratch off claims to a salesman who promptly threw them in the trash. It is getting so bad that I sometime throw away by mistake important papers like tax information.

I think they got off lightly (1)

cosam (460350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637571)

> A federal court today spanked two telemarketers...

I'd have sentenced them to a term of no less than four years in a federal spank-me-on-the-ass prison.

Re:I think they got off lightly (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638605)

Agreed. I'd also add the drug law methods. Seize ALL assets of the firm and its sexecutives.

Blow to "Fine print" contracts? (5, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637577)

From what I can tell, this decision is actually a blow to so-called "fine print" "privacy policies" and "terms and conditions" so prevalent on websites these days. In the article, it says that they were convicted even though their "fine print" said the consumers would receive marketing calls. It sounds like to me that those types of one-sided "fine print" contracts are not being upheld in court.

The Westgate defendants purchased the telephone numbers of consumers who answered travel-related survey questions, such as "Select your favorite travel destination," on Brandarama.com's online form, the FTC stated. Many of these telephone numbers were on the DNC Registry. The Brandarama.com Web site did not refer to Westgate or notify consumers that they would receive telemarketing calls, except in language buried in its "terms and conditions" or "privacy policy" pages, the FTC stated.

Re:Blow to "Fine print" contracts? (1)

yachius (1348219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638467)

"Privacy Policies" and "Terms and Conditions" have no legal clout on their own. You can't violate a law because you state that you're going to in your privacy policy, which is exactly what has happened here.

Re:Blow to "Fine print" contracts? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639225)

Of course you can't blatantly declare that you're going to break a law, but I don't think that's what they were doing. I bet their T&C's said something to the effect of "By filling out this form, you are creating a 'business relationship', and agree to accept marketing calls" or "By providing your opinion you agree that this serves as 'written approval' for marketing calls as specified in the DNC law."

The DNC list has specific loopholes for companies with which you have an existing relationship, and for ones that you specifically given express written permission. From the DNC FAQ: "...calls [are permitted] from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you've provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls."

Phone Spam (5, Interesting)

bornagainpenguin (1209106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637585)

I have a Virgin Mobile that I've been using now for nearly a year and I still get calls from all sorts of telemarketers who refuse to stop calling me, claiming I owe money or that my car warranty is about to expire. I recently made a report on one of these companies whose robo calls filled up my voice mail, only to recieve a letter back saying the report was 'unfounded' and wishing me a nice day. So while I'm happy to see there has been some action taken here against some of these companies I wish they'd be more consistent in enforcement.

The other thing that bothers me is the increasing frequency of these types of calls coming over VOIP and their increasing similarity to spam. My fear is that unless we get consistent in enforcement we're going to end up with today's situation with email repeated on cellphones, just as it was on faxes and landlines.

--happy one

Re:Phone Spam (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637649)

It's illegal for telemarketers to call cellphones (or fax machines), because those types of calls waste consumer dollars. In the case of my Virgin Mobile account, 20 cents per minute/voicemail, and you can be damned sure I would press charges if I were in your shoes.

Re:Phone Spam (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638407)

Who exactly is he going to press charges with? The departments that oversee these laws rarely take any action (like he said, he tried to file a complaint, only for them to tell him they weren't going to do anything about it). So what is he going to do, dial 911 and tell the cops?

Re:Phone Spam (3, Interesting)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638677)

It's illegal for telemarketers to call cellphones

No it's not.

My company runs at least two dialing campaigns that go to cell phones. In order for the call to be legal, you probably need a prior business relationship (though I'm not certain) and you do need to do what's called "preview dialing," where someone is actually on the line the entire time, from the moment the line starts ringing and until the customer hangs up.

You may not like it, but should you ever get solicited on your cell phone, chances are good it was legal.

He said it was robocalls (3, Informative)

danaris (525051) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639551)

...and I've gotten robocalls on my cell, too, saying my car warranty was going to expire.

If, as you say, you have to have someone actually on the line, then no, they're not legal.

Dan Aris

Re:Phone Spam (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637701)

Since you're a deadbeat and don't pay your bills, eventually virgin will cut your phone service and this won't be a problem anymore.

Re:Phone Spam (2, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637723)

I have a Virgin Mobile that I've been using now for nearly a year and I still get calls from all sorts of telemarketers who refuse to stop calling me, claiming I owe money or that my car warranty is about to expire. I recently made a report on one of these companies whose robo calls filled up my voice mail, only to recieve a letter back saying the report was 'unfounded' and wishing me a nice day.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm guessing that the law focuses on phone number and not on phone owner. So, since a business relationship was established with your phone number from the previous owner of the number, you might be screwed until some possible time-out period.

Re:Phone Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637857)

I have a Virgin Mobile that I've been using now for nearly a year and I still get calls from all sorts of telemarketers who refuse to stop calling me, claiming I owe money or that my car warranty is about to expire.

You know, when I had Sprint I never got telemarketing calls (from 2000-2008). Ever since I switched* to Virgin I've been getting telemarketing calls daily. I put it on the Do Not Call List back in August, but still every day I get at least one call for things like car warranty.

Seeing that you're having a similar problem, I wonder if Virgin is somehow in on it. These calls started about a day after I activated the phone (I didn't transfer my Sprint number).

* I got tired of paying Sprint $30+ a month when I barely used it. When my phone broke I decided to give Virgin a try since I didn't feel like paying for a new phone and getting stuck in term agreement again. Virgin's been great other than the calls. I now pay less than $5/mo.

Re:Phone Spam (1)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637879)

I had a Virgin Mobile phone for a while, and I was constantly getting collections calls on it.

I'm pretty sure that Virgin gets its phone number pool from people whose phone service got cut off for nonpayment (and probably also have dozens of other unpaid bills.)

The only way I got out of that was to port in a number from another carrier.

Re:Phone Spam (1)

rogeroger (1125533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638159)

That must be why some get calls and others don't. I've been using Virgin Mobile for over 3 years and I have yet to get an unsolicited call. I was curious as to why I was so lucky.

Re:Phone Spam (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638381)

I think the issue is that collections agencies try any and every possible way of reaching whoever they're after. We still get calls from collection agencies for people who sold our house to the people who sold it to us. They could care less if you tell them that you have no idea who they're after or where they can be found - they just assume you're lying. You can't even tell them to put all correspondence in writing because you actually need to be the person they're after to do that legally.

Virgin Mobile customers are probably more vulnerable than most because I suspect that these prepaid phones tend to get used for nefarious purposes more often than most, and so when the numbers get recycled into the pool they're more likely to have been used by somebody who bought something with a stolen credit card, or somebody who had bad credit and couldn't get a monthly plan.

Collection agencies really need to be more tightly regulated. They should not be legally allowed to harass the living daylights out of anybody who has even the most tenuous association with somebody they're after. When informed that their information is out of date they should be required to cease all contact. Ideally there should be a do-not-call central registry as well to record incorrect collections information.

Re:Phone Spam (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639589)

I agree with you. Collection agencies are at best only one step better than the deadbeats they try to collect from. If you do not legitimately owe a debt, but it has somehow been assigned to a collection agency, then they will harrass you even if you explain to them clearly how you do not owe the debt. On initial contact, they send you something telling you to notify them in writing or by phone if the debt is not valid. I have notified them in writing AND by phone, and still the next month I got a note saying "since you made no effort to contact us, we are considering this a valid debt."
I have had collection agencies call me regarding a late payment by my sister, who does not live with me, asking for her contact information. They also called my mother, my father and my grandmother.
More recently, the Colorado Department of Employment security sold my account to a collection agency. It seems that they had been sending me notices to an invalid address for years, and I somehow owed them about $500 in back taxes. The collection agency was harassing my employee in Colorado about this "debt". I attempted to reach the collection agent but was unsuccessful and left a message with my contact information and explicit instructions to not harass my employee. They continued to harass my employee. I spoke to the Colorado Department of Employment Security, they corrected my mailing address, we determined that the delinquent reports were for quarters preceding the assumption of my business in Colorado, however to humor them, I went ahead and filed zero dollar reports anyway, and the debt with them was settled for $0 dollars. The collection agency was notified of this. however, they continued to harass my employee.
Come to think of it, maybe they are a couple of steps below the people they try to collect from. Even the ones that legitimately owe money.

enlightening (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637597)

>>> failing to connect the calls to a sales representative within two seconds after consumers answered, as required by law,

This happens to me a LOT, but I didn't realize it was required by law to answer. That's good. There's nothing more annoying than running to get the phone, and only hearing a bunch of clicks and nobody answering. Stupid corporations should be forced out of business, not just fined. With workers being fired left-and-right, maybe a few of these law-breaking corporations should be "fired" too.

Re:enlightening (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638067)

I try to answer the phone as quickly as possible, attempting to lift the receiver before the first ring has finished. This freaks out the autodialer systems because they expect a person to answer the phone on the second ring after the Caller ID information has been sent. I get disconnected frequently doing this. It often results in much more than 2 seconds if the Telepestering person actually decides I am a real person and wants to talk/pester me as they are payed to do.

Re:enlightening (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638397)

are payed to do

are paid to do.
I thought English was the mother tongue in the US.

Sincerely,
your friendly grammar Nazi.

Re:enlightening (1)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639415)

Maybe he meant payed. From what i've heard of working conditions in telemarketing firms, it would not strike me as unreasonable to expect that the employees are tied by ropes to their desks, which are only payed out for the purpose of making phone calls.

Re:enlightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639259)

thats not true at all.. we use a predictive dialer here and it would be happy to connect you before you realize whats going on.

Re:enlightening (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638513)

I refuse to run to answer a phone anymore. I have voicemail and I have caller ID. If someone wants to leave me a message, they're free to do that and if they didn't, I can see whose call I missed and call them back.

When I pick up the call and its silent after a second, I put the phone down on top of one of my floor standing speakers without hanging up for a few minutes.

You waste my time and I waste yours.

Never happens (-1, Troll)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637609)

I am on the list and they still call, and they NEVER answer
after I speak and call them Niggers,Niggers,Niggers,Niggers, Niggers,
Niggers ad nauseum.

I wonder why?

Seriously, these people should be able to be reported by forwarding
their fake number to the FEDS, and a mandatory $5000.00 USD per call
should be levied against the company. Naturally I should get $2500.00
for doing the FED's work for them.

Cut their goolies off (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637729)

I say: cut their goolies off

Why Telemarketers? (1)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637747)

I'm all for enforcing do-not-call registries, but there are plenty of culpable white-collars who've caused a lot more damage than bugging people at dinner time and yet have not seen any court-issued penalty.

Granted, with regards to the recent turn in the economy, the robber barons had plenty of help from Ordinary People(TM) and Congress Inc.

Re:Why Telemarketers? (2, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638289)

If bugging people on the phone at dinner time is a crime then my gran owes me ALOT of money then :)

Re:Why Telemarketers? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638973)

While we're at it, how about during "wow, that was a lot of food, time for a nap on the couch" just after dinner time?

Notice who is missing from the action... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637823)

The cases were filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC

There is no mention of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

Just use spam filters (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637849)

All we need is a spam filter for telephone numbers.

And some phone who can use the list.

Re:Just use spam filters (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638099)

I have Call Blocking enabled on my phone line, but it won't block the most offending numbers for some reason.

Re:Just use spam filters (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638181)

Or telephone captcha, like "Press 3 if you are robot, press 2 if you are a real person". Only pressing 2 will actually make telephone ring.

Re:Just use spam filters (2, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638447)

I do that on my home phone line (actually even simpler than that -- "Press 1 to continue in English"), and it works quite well.

Re:Just use spam filters (1)

pentalive (449155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639197)

Caller ID FTW

I never answer if I don't regcognise the number.

On my cell phone if they are not in my phone's dial list (so the name shows when they ring). No answer.

And that's what fraction of the profit? (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637967)

Unless those 1.2m are a sizable portion of the revenue (read: enough to make it unprofitable), it is just a cost factor, not a fine. A fine has to discourage. Unless the fine is actually high enough to make the illegal business unprofitable, it will not stop people doing this kind of business.

Example: You run a scam that cheats people out of 100 bucks each. When you get caught, you have to pay 50 bucks per person scammed as a fine. Question: Do you stop scamming, or is those 50 bucks just the cost factor to take into account for your next run?

Re:And that's what fraction of the profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639523)

Even then it's not enough. Because of limited liability, they normally only find the corporation. Close that one down and start another one. That's what everyone does. Every corporation that doesn't get caught returns a profit. Some of the guys who runs these have has dozens of corps in dozens of anti-social things. I know the guy behind the corp harassing me used to do fax spamming.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638021)

I don't get this DNC, as I am not from the US.
So, (1)I don't wanna do business with telemarketers. (2)I register on the DNC so they won't call me. (3)They call me, because I might still be interested...
Doesn't calling the DNC defeat it's purpose? I registered there because I'm not interested in buying anything over the phone, why would you call me?

Re:WTF (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638261)

I don't get this DNC, as I am not from the US.

So, (1)I don't wanna do business with telemarketers. (2)I register on the DNC so they won't call me. (3)They call me, because I might still be interested...

Doesn't calling the DNC defeat it's purpose? I registered there because I'm not interested in buying anything over the phone, why would you call me?

I don't understand it either. The UK equivalent to the DNC list, the TPS [tpsonline.org.uk] , is paid for by the industry to save them calling people who aren't interested in their services.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639781)

I don't understand it either. The UK equivalent to the DNC list, the TPS, is paid for by the industry to save them calling people who aren't interested in their services.

I guess the UK (or some of its business sectors at least) is just trailing the pack in the big race-to-bottom that is modern gotcha capitalism. In the USA, the notion of a company voluntarily paying anything NOT to annoy and frustrate its potential customers is rather... quaint.

Re:WTF (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640089)

A not insignificant number of people who put themselves on the DNC list are people who are aware that they have a difficult time saying "no" to people and probably end up buying crap from telemarketers. Therefore it makes sense to call the people on the DNC list on the hopes of reaching one of these people.

express (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638161)

expressed* written permission

You must have skipped Grammar Nazism 101 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638547)

...always check your facts before attempting to correct any mistake. Case in point: "express" can also be used as an adjective [wiktionary.org] , meaning "explicit" and opposed to "tacit" or "implicit".

Next time, spend 20 seconds doing some research before making a fool out of yourself.

Telemarketing (Junk) Call Blocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638279)

Take a look at program jcblock. Its on sourceforge.net. Just type in 'jcblock' in the Search: window.

Here's the challenge and the problem (4, Insightful)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638431)

Most of the "really guilty" companies use VOIP with callerid spoofing. It's illegal but almost impossible to prove on a sweeping scan of the industry. You have to watch one company to catch them doing it and most of these guys switch their names, change location etc... and often times aren't even in the United States and thus, not under their jurisdiction.

- I don't want the Government to be able to wiretap companies without a warrant.
- I don't want the telephone companies / ISP's filtering content.
- We can't punish the companies who use them because it could easily be used as a bankrupting tool for innocent companies (company A wants to bankrupt company b and "hires" telemarketing company as company A).
- I refuse to pay my telephone company or the government more money for something that should be happening in the first place

So how do we stop these guys especially when we can't prosecute them under our laws?

Solutions
1) Filters - You can have automatic private/unknown block. I know two people who have private numbers who would have trouble calling me. This is flawed because you block people you want to talk to and callerID spoofing bypasses the rest. If it comes to traffic identification that means ISPS are scanning traffic... uh NO. No matter what you basically you hurt yourself here.

2) Fines - won't work on the really bad ones outside the US. A pointless endeavor except to inside the US.

Sure the above two work to deter it within our Country... however I think jail-time of the company owners should be mandatory. That would pretty much stop it within the US. However... it's pretty minor here. Most calls you get are from out of country.

Here is my solution... but its easier said than done due to difficulty of implementation. The requirements are the follows

1) Create a complaint system where users can do *123 (or something) that identifies that call as an unwanted sales call.
2) Users who have access to this feature must be on the DO NOT CALL LIST
3) This system must be profitable for all those involved or negligible in cost or it's a pipe dream.
4) There has to be a bit of leeway because lists are purchased and occasionally even the best companies screw up.

When a caller identifies a call by hitting *123 it flags that call for the telephony company. It stores the data of that caller in a database. This database is given to a US agency who runs reports identifying repeat offenders or "areas" of the world where it comes from the most (including the US).

This helps the US target those areas and identify the companies that relay those calls, or that companies VOIP id's etc. From this information we can block them entirely. Like all blacklists there has to be a measure of care taken before someone is placed on it.

Good exploiters of the system are constantly moving, constantly changing to not be identified. Here's what the cherry in my plan comes from. When telemarketers like this are identified, it's almost a shoe in to identify the companies that do business with them. Begin to fine those companies. WHY?!?

When companies begin to get hit with fines, and the threat of being identified as "bad marketers" receiving bad media... you bet your ass they'll start looking for more reputable marketing groups. You'll see a SHARP decline in the number of unwanted calls that occur.

Unfortunately this is a long term solution and would take over a year to begin culling the data and identifying trends. Except one thing...

AT&T, Sprint and several others have been doing this for years. They have the data, they know who it is... all they need is little push from a Governmental agency dedicated to spam! The fines and such would self manage this agency. When fines are high this agencies focus is here... when it's low this agency can focus on other issues.

The best part is that when this problem becomes small... so will the governmental agency.

My perfect world i guess...

Re:Here's the challenge and the problem (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639335)

What if you do *123 with a debt collector? Would they also be prosecuted for this? What if the debt collector uses a call center?

Re:Here's the challenge and the problem (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640403)

Even better, forget about 'caller ID' which says whatever they want it to say. Send the actual phone number that called (or if it's a PBX, the 'main' number that it's billed to). They're calling ME, they have no right to keep their number private.

Next on the list is to narrowly define 'existing business relationship'. If I do business with A one time, I do NOT have an existing business relationship with B even if they did shake hands with A. I would like to see it narrowed further such that an existing sale or service can't be used as an excuse to telemarket additional sales or services, but that would be hard to properly define.

Car Warranty (2)

Provos (20410) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638773)

Now if they can just get the idiots that call me and tell me my car warranty is about to expire on a regular basis, despite me repeatedly telling them to take me off their list AND my phone number being on the do-not-call registry, I'd be happy.

anyone else get calls from "credit card services"? (4, Interesting)

e40 (448424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639083)

I get them a couple of times a week. They're robo calls, with the usual "press 1 to ..." and they all start with the claim to help you with your CC rates and that this is "your last chance".

Once, I played them. I pressed 1. Said I was interested. Was asked if I had "at least $4000 in CC debt." Once I passed that test, I was handled off to the closer, a really slick asshole who asked for my CC#'s. I stalled. He waited. I acted dumb and said I'd look for my statements. I just set down the phone. 10 minutes later I hung up. I immediately got a call back. At first, he thought I accidentally hung up, but I hung up again. He called back again and before I hung up again I hear "you'll be sorry..." The next 5 rings were people that asked to be taken off their list. I had to take the phone off the hook for 30 minutes.

Better than Canada (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639135)

It is nice to see that the "Do not call list" (DNC) in the USA has teeth to bite back at the abusers. In Canada we just suffered a huge blow to our version of the "Do not call list", whereby the list was sold to telemarketers and people on the list are now getting more calls, not less. What is the government doing to punish people abusing the list: Nothing! What is the point of having a DNC list if the government will not even step up and fine companies abusing it.

Bankruptcy (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639263)

Ditch the fine, reorg under a new name. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Make it opt-in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639727)

Telemarketing and spam need to be made to be opt-in only on an individual product basis. That means noe more of this BS that you ask for info on one product, and you have unknowingly opted in to a couple hundred companies whose products are completely unrelated to the one you asked about. You ahould ONLY get teleohone or email advertising that you specifically ask for, and then only for the specific product that you asked about! And the same shoud apply to the snail mail spam industry as well!!

The no-call list is flawed, as it does'nt preclude those who signed up from getting calls asking for money, and does not preclude political calls!

Call waiting services are also implemented in a flawed fashion, and have never delivered what was originally pronised. What was originally promised were devices that could be programed with a white list, and only those on the list would get through, or a black list whose members would never get through.

I could go on, but thats enough ranting for now!

Abolish do not call list (-1, Offtopic)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639983)

Quite frankly, the do not call list should be abolished. I have worked in telemarketing and the people there were simply trying to make a living selling quality goods. There is nothing wrong with calling people and letting them know about a product. If they dont want it they can hang up, no one is forcing them to buy anything or to stay on the phone. I do understand that for many low income people they may not want to recieve calls for things they cannot afford, so i do think there should be a do no call list for low income persons only who cannot afford whatever is being offered.

The do not call list, to add insult to injury, they actually make it HARD for companies to comply with it. These are often small businesses run by employees themselves, not large greedy companies like the banks who we throw billion dollar bank bailouts at. One would think they would want to make the list easy to access so all companies could get it but on one hand they require it on the other hand they make compliance so hard because to get the database it costs huge amounts of money, whcih often cannot be afforded by low margin telesales companies.

It is so difficult now to make a living with our economy and with the constant attacks on the middle class on this country which is being strangled by a wealthy elite class, who opposes fair pay for workers, unions and aggressively corrupts government and shows the most contempt and hatred for the middle class of this country and our democracy for and by the people, that the do not call list just adds to the misery and lessens the ability of honest low income people to make a living. With a society which is dominated by massive corporations, where it costs millions just to be able to sell to consumers, where all but millionaires are locked out of much of the retailing sector, where advertising is simply outrageous in cost, telesales is often the only affordable way to reach consumers. I have never seen things so bad in this country, and people in such desperation and people so financially devastated they cant buy anything for themselves anymore. The root cause of this is globalisation. This economic collapse would have happened years ago if it had not been artificially propped up with mountains of debt. Its a house of cards and you cant build a healthy economy on debt, you have to make things and people have to receive the money from what they make, not fat cat CEOs. This situation we have is a modern form of slavery with large corporations, there has been increasing consolidation of corporations and corporations are rigging the economic system, society adn infrastructure to lock out everyone else. This is centralisation of power so a few wealthy autocrats can control and manipulate the lives of millions. They will reduce thw working people into abject poverty and they steal money from the working people from the products they make for their own luxury yachts and private jets. While large banks are getting government welfare checks of billions of dollars, these same companies are throwing money at corporate jets, million dollar CEO office redecorating and super luxury high end million dollar vacations. I for one am tired of subsidising a fat cat CEO while every day I see families struggling to fee dtheir children. I am tired of us paying a hidden tax on everything we buy, where much of the money from things we buy goes to some wealthy elite class rather than the hard working peasants whose hands put those things together. The wealthy are strangling us and want to implementat a global third world fascist state with a puppet government which primarily serves to protect their own interests, they want the government to be their own private police force to assert their totalitarian order and give them billion dollar bailouts of taxpayer money. They oppose all efforts of the people oif ths country to be able to hgave a voice and control their destiny, and make the system work for the common good rather than for wealthy elites. They oppose the unions which is the only reason they USA has had a middle class, they oppose all efforts to restore our government to a democracy rather than a fascist totalitarian state run and paid for by large corporations. They oppose universal health care, insurance and pensions for the common people. They oppose living wages and they oppose caps on CEO pay and benefits. There is no practical reason to have a $1,000,000+ class, no reason anyone needs that kind of money. I would rather make sure everyone has enough rather than most have too little and a few have too much.

its time for a revolution and the people to take back our country and establish a democratic system and our right to democratic representation via unions and democratic corporations. It is time for us, the common people, to rule the system and make it work for the common good rather than to be exploited for the benefit of wealthy elites. it is time for government to serve us, for corporations to serve us, for them to be our servants rather than vice versa. I am not asking for a hand out. I am asking that we have a democratic economy where corporations are servants of thw working people formed to serve the public interest, to serve the people and improive general welfare and protect the environment, where the corporations are run for and by us, where we own them and they are employee democracies. I am asking that we have a democratic system of health care where we assure as a society that every person has health care, those who are more fortunate need to help those who are less fortunate, food shelter, housing and a safe good job, that people can make a good living on 8 hours a day so they can spend time with their families, can have time off for their families and so on. Parents should not be working two overtime jobs and never see their children so they have to be raised by other people. Its more important to make sure people are not dying from lack of food or health care than to make sure wealthy elites have low taxes and do not have to help those who are less fortunate. Our system should not impoverish and starve people or cause them to go without health care because they work long hours at jobs that dont pay well. To those who say that they should go to college, not everyone has the money and the same opportunities you do, and as well we will always need janitors, store shelf stockers, landscapers, cashiers, garbage collectors and so on. To say they should not be paid a living wage, to say they should not have access to health care, or be able to feed their children, or afford a house, is to say that we are going to condemn a certain part of the population to such deprivations and poverty.

So... a question of opportunity... (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26640249)

This seems like an appropriate place to throw this one out... it baffles me why nobody has capitalized on this opportunity. It shouldn't be *that* expensive to design a telephone that has call display that will allow you to block calls from unknown numbers, or at least forward them to voice mail, or do something.

I mean, there is asterisk, but that is out of the budget and hard to configure for the average consumer. I would think there would be big money to be made there, with low development costs.

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  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>