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FTC Wins Huge $7.5 Million Penalty Against "Do Not Call" List Violator

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the pay-up dept.

United States 136

coondoggie writes "The Federal Trade Commission today said it has won a $7.5 million civil penalty – the largest ever — against Mortgage Investors Corporation, one of the nation's biggest refinancers of veterans' home loans for allegedly violating 'Do Not Call' requirements. According to the FTC’s complaint, Mortgage Investors Corporation called consumers on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry, failed to remove consumers from its company call list upon demand, and misstated the terms of available loan products during telemarketing calls."

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136 comments

Very nice (4, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | about 10 months ago | (#44129953)

Now, if they could just get those "This is an automated message from account services... Press one if you would like to lower your interest rates to as little as..." assholes, that would be great...

Re:Very nice (2)

garcia (6573) | about 10 months ago | (#44131261)

Yesterday I got a scam call for a free resort stay if I was over the age of 28 and would provide them my credit card number.

While this particular scam is nothing particularly new, what was surprising is that the call appeared to originate from my area code. When I called the number back it went to a woman's voicemail. I'm guessing the entire thing was spoofed and she's an unknowing accomplice to this scam. Hell, they could be choosing numbers entirely at random.

Re:Very nice (2)

Krojack (575051) | about 10 months ago | (#44131589)

Spoofed or calls made through some open or hacked PBX such as Asterisk. I run a few Asterisk servers and use to get non-stop hammered with brute force attacks.

Re:Very nice (3, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 10 months ago | (#44131393)

But they already got the Cardholder Services people [slashdot.org]. That's how ineffective the penalties really are.

Re:Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131653)

But they already got the Cardholder Services people [slashdot.org]. That's how ineffective the penalties really are.

It's possible that the penalties were ineffective; it's equally possible that there are a hundred other people running the same scam.

Re:Very nice (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 10 months ago | (#44132409)

it's equally possible that there are a hundred other people running the same scam

The same scam, sure, but the same caller ID and recording?

Re:Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44133557)

it's equally possible that there are a hundred other people running the same scam

The same scam, sure, but the same caller ID and recording?

Sure. It's called copyright infringement.

You didn't expect the scammers to pay for their own idea, caller ID and recording, did you?

Re:Very nice (2)

sribe (304414) | about 10 months ago | (#44131499)

Now, if they could just get those "This is an automated message from account services... Press one if you would like to lower your interest rates to as little as..." assholes, that would be great...

They did. A couple of months ago. The problem is the ROI is so high on this kind of scam that there's always another scumbag setting up all over again.

Re:Very nice (1)

ngc3242 (1039950) | about 10 months ago | (#44132539)

They did. A couple of months ago. The problem is the ROI is so high on this kind of scam that there's always another scumbag setting up all over again.

The fines for businesses that break the law need to be "the revenue earned during the period when the conduct was occurring" that would eliminate the sociopathic calculus that companies use to determine if the potential downside of breaking the law is less than the upside. Stating the penalty as "all revenue" instead of "all profit" would ensure that they lose more than they gain.

Re:Very nice (1)

sribe (304414) | about 10 months ago | (#44132663)

The fines for businesses that break the law need to be "the revenue earned during the period when the conduct was occurring" that would eliminate the sociopathic calculus that companies use to determine if the potential downside of breaking the law is less than the upside. Stating the penalty as "all revenue" instead of "all profit" would ensure that they lose more than they gain.

While I agree on the ethical/moral sense of "taking ALL their money", you're wrong about the sociopathic calculus. The sociopaths believe that they are smarter than the whole world and will never be caught, so no potential fine is large enough to deter them. The best we can hope for is to bankrupt them, and, ideally, imprison the worst offenders.

Re:Very nice (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#44133007)

The fines for businesses that break the law need to be "the revenue earned during the period when the conduct was occurring" that would eliminate the sociopathic calculus that companies use to determine if the potential downside of breaking the law is less than the upside. Stating the penalty as "all revenue" instead of "all profit" would ensure that they lose more than they gain.

That really won't solve things - what will happen is like those "work from home" businesses. basically the companies will simply offer those people an opportunity to sell the insurance or whatever they're flogging instead.

FTC goes after them? The home business is what's at fault and gets fined. The company selling the stuff? Scot-free.

And yes, those "work from home" things tend to be horrendous scams - sure the company will "officially" say to follow all the laws, but the pressure to sell is so strong that no, you cannot.

Re:Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131569)

If you don't have an established business relationship with them or the number they're using was not given for the purposes of contacting you in this manner, they odds are good it's not legal.

If they use an automated system like that to call a Mobile phone, it's also illegal. And in that case, even if they've got an established business relationship, they can't call a mobile this way. Debt collectors also can't do it.

some reading for y'all (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 10 months ago | (#44133283)

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2012-title47-vol3/xml/CFR-2012-title47-vol3-sec64-1200.xml [gpo.gov]

this would be
          Title 47 - Telecommunication. CHAPTER I - FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (CONTINUED). SUBCHAPTER B - COMMON CARRIER SERVICES (CONTINUED). PART 64 - MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS. Subpart L - Restrictions on Telemarketing, Telephone Solicitation, and Facsimile Advertising.

[voice type="Judge Dred"] THIS IS THE LAW [/voice]

Re:Very nice (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 10 months ago | (#44131735)

I found an interesting way to get them to stop calling. I happened to be around when they called one time and so I followed the prompts.

When I got a live person I started asking questions and finally the guy hung up on me. They didn't call back for months and when they did, I hit 1 to get a live person then put the phone down and walked away.

Haven't gotten a call from them since.

Don't know if my actions were specific in getting them to stop calling, but it can't hurt to try.

Re:Very nice (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 10 months ago | (#44132811)

I do the same thing and they keep calling. I figure it's worthwhile, though. If everyone just wasted 5 minutes of the real person's time, the scam would be so unprofitable that they'd have to stop.

Re:Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44133499)

I tried being nice. I argued and fought with these people. I told them they were criminals working for a criminal organization. I tried to take there offer, but they said I wasn't eligible. They called me every two or three days no matter what I did, for years no matter what I did. I had to answer my stupid phone during work hours. The final solution? I stopped telecommuting.

Re:Very nice (2)

publiclurker (952615) | about 10 months ago | (#44133611)

Too bad they always seem to call on my cellphone. I have a limited minutes plan, and don't really feel like wasting them on these slimeballs.

Re:Very nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132145)

Yeah I have written to the AG about these to complain. Of course the AG comes back you have an active credit card, blah, blah, blah. So anymore, if I get a call from a number I do not recognize I just pick it up and hang up.

Re:Put PRISM to use (2)

flatcat (464267) | about 10 months ago | (#44132473)

Best PR the govt. can get would be to use PRISM to locate these "account services" bastards and Guantanamo Bay their ass.

Revenge, Not Fines (3, Funny)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 10 months ago | (#44129959)

It would be a lot more satisfying to have their PBX system(s) crash repeatedly, preferably during their own dinnertime.

Re:Revenge, Not Fines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131615)

Call blocking on Mobiles works wonders too... However, I'm of a mind to take some of the real abusers to court these days...

$500 per time they call outside of the domains they're allowed. Up to $1500 if it's done willfully. The worst offenders are the collections departments or outsourced (heh...if it's outsourced, it's 3rd party, period...) debt collectors on some of the credit card companies. HSBC was one of the worst offenders. GEMB is also another bad one. Wells Fargo seems to be playing in that same space, caling 4-6 times a day and not leaving messages, etc. This FTC penalty doesn't surprise me in the slightest- other than there's even bigger fish to fry there if they'd go to work on things.

Re:Revenge, Not Fines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132063)

It would be a lot more satisfying to have their PBX system(s) crash repeatedly, preferably during their own dinnertime.

No it would be a lot more satisfying to hear that the offenders' offices were raided by a swat team... complete with flashbangs being tossed inside before entry, dogs being shot immediately upon sight, and all the employees inside viciously thrown to the ground by the jack-booted thugs and machine gun barrels held to their heads while the JBTs scream orders at them as they all get pepper-sprayed, cuffed and stuffed into a paddy-wagon and hauled off to jail and everything in the building seized.

a sure cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44129973)

is the death penalty for all involved , from top to bottom . who could oppose that ?

Re:a sure cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130379)

Call it, The Zimmermann Solution.

Re:a sure cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131639)

What does PGP have to do with the subject at hand?

Re:a sure cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132195)

What does movie rating have to do with the subject afoot?

Re:a sure cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132403)

I had an idea on the tip of my tongue, but....

I guess it was worth it then... (5, Insightful)

An dochasac (591582) | about 10 months ago | (#44129977)

Surely Mortgage Investors Corporation pulled in far more than $7.5 Million with this fraud. And they certainly caused more than $7.5 Million in damages to their victims and the rest society by blowing phone spam into the property bubble. What's to stop them or anyone else from doing it again? This should have been a criminal case. Prison for the CEO and board of directors would be more of a deterrent for corporate crimes.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 10 months ago | (#44129991)

they should have been fined 101% of their total gross income, since the start of the company.

don't take SOME of their money. take ALL of it.

if you don't, they still (the generic 'they') will see a profit from their bad behavior.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (4, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | about 10 months ago | (#44130025)

That works, but I agree that violating DNC should carry very heavy pernalties. If I put my number out there specificlaly to say "don't call me", then I damn well don't want to be called.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (5, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | about 10 months ago | (#44130127)

That works, but I agree that violating DNC should carry very heavy pernalties. If I put my number out there specificlaly to say "don't call me", then I damn well don't want to be called.

Much as I dislike phone spammers, let's save the very heavy penalties for the fraud and misrepresentation. HOWEVER... They weren't just being annoying asses (not generally illegal, alas) and violating an agreement they'd signed up to (clearly a civil penalty thing), they were also telling lies about the details of what they were selling (assuming TFS is accurate). That's the sort of thing that sounds like it ought to be investigated on a criminal basis.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131737)

I worked for Mortgage Investors in Atlanta Georgia. The whole selling thing is a scam. You go to people's houses that had listened to the telemarketer's spiel. The telemarketer tells them great things. The sales person/loan officer(me) goes to the home with a presentation booklet and is supposed to read word for word from the presentation booklet as you flip through the pages. Very few read word for word because it is a whole lot of BS to swallow and the sales person knows it.

Then depending on the state, the Atlanta office handled both Georgia and Alabama, you did a 3 page worksheet showing how much money a month they would save by having this new loan. I'm a math major and the work sheet is math over load for me. The majority of the people I pitched the worksheet to just looked at me with their eyeballs just spinning when I was done. There was a reason for that.

That was all done to hide the fact that they were probably saving less than $100 a month but paying someone 8% of their loan value to do that. I tried to sabotage a loan for a customer that they were only saving $3 a month over 30 years but almost costing them $14,000 to do it. But the sales pitch does work and it gets them to concentrate on the $3 savings a month.

Many times through the worksheet presentation you mention the $3 monthly savings. It is also shown at the bottom of every worksheet page. I think for this guy I did the math on the cost of the loan which isn't in the worksheet and mentioned it a time or two before he signed the worksheet. I do believe the loan went through even though me trying to make it fail.

Now there is upsides to the company about 5% of customers do actually save a bunch of money. I did save a customer $600 a month on a loan that lived in rural South Georgia. I brought his loan from 10.5% to 6.25%. He could have probably had 4% if he had gone with a company that wasn't so fixated on getting the maximum allowed by law out of the customer.

On the odd case where the customer is saving too much money, the sales person/loan officer has the discretion to pitch a 15 year loan instead and even make more money off the loan.

Sales person/loan officer gets paid on average 0.5% of the loan value. Each sales person/loan officer got 3 homes to pitch to every day. 1 Million in loan values closed every 2 weeks got you a $5,000 paycheck at the end of those 2 weeks. I left after a year and a half of working there just as the housing bubble was bursting. There were several pay periods where I did do the 1 Million. Most pay periods averaged $200,000 to $300,000 though. Greed has a way of keeping your mouth shut.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (0, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | about 10 months ago | (#44130483)

I used to deal with guys like you every day and not only could you not remember that you gave me permission to call you - you asked me to. And then when I called you got all twitchy. If you want penalties for unsolicited callers, put in a mirror of the same penalties for the "plaintiff" of solicited callers unfairly accused. That way we can shut down all business everywhere all at once for lack of trust.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130563)

We never want you to call, ever. You shitbags gamed the system by hiding 'please call me' boxes which were auto checked on a hidden iframe, or weaseled it into some tiny print on a statement, or some other shady business.

I hope that you suffer some great harm. Yes, you, symbolset, I hope that you personally suffer some great harm or negative event in your life for being such a shitbag.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (-1, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | about 10 months ago | (#44130607)

I'm not some list monger. If I called you then we met in person, were properly introduced, discussed some matter you expressed interest in having more info about and you shared your number for that purpose. If after that you want legal protection from me calling you once only at your request I don't know what to say other than "you have issues."

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1, Offtopic)

nukenerd (172703) | about 10 months ago | (#44130811)

I'm not some list monger. If I called you then we met in person, were properly introduced, discussed some matter you expressed interest in having more info about and you shared your number for that purpose.

That type of call is not the subject of this discussion. Someone mod this guy "off topic" please.

So you met with this AC? How do you know? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131073)

Answer: you don't.

Like all phone spamming scum, you're lying your arse off.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 10 months ago | (#44130729)

BTW: I get the ill will toward salesmen. I've worked with more than a few who deserved it. Not here, not now, but I get it.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130821)

Help fight alitursy.

Not sure what you mean by 'alitursy,' but I assume that you're actually against allituration, and I agree.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (5, Funny)

Le Marteau (206396) | about 10 months ago | (#44131035)

"I used to deal with guys like you every day and not only could you not remember that you gave me permission to call you - you asked me to. "

Think about it. You spent your day... you made your living... virtually barging in on people who don't know you, who for the most part don't want to talk to you, and who get "all twitchy" because they can't remember if they ticked off an opt-out box or not.

You were, in other words, a professional asshole.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (2)

smartin (942) | about 10 months ago | (#44131197)

That works, but I agree that violating DNC should carry very heavy pernalties

I would consider death to be the minimum penalty.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 10 months ago | (#44132111)

The problem is that the scumbuckets doing the calls have a lot of ways to easily thumb their nose at the FCC:

1: They use shell companies incorporated offshore. The FCC gets a big verdict, the company goes under, but the next day, another company is doing the same exact thing. All their equipment and workers are held and employed by secondary holding corporations (the details are all kept offshore), so the only thing lost might be a name.

2: With VoIP, it is trivial to forge numbers on Caller ID and run the shop from offshore.

3: There are so many DNC loopholes. Business "A" can rent out their mailing list, so business "B" can robocall at will, saying that due to the mailing list, they have a business relationship with the victim^Wcallee.

It is a very lucrative business because there is no real way for someone to block it and still have a usable phone. On landlines, there is no way to shut it off, as call blocking doesn't work on 800/888/866 numbers. iOS, one can use DND mode and only allow contacts (but it doesn't stop them from filling the voicemail up.) Android has Mr. Number which is a decent app, and uses a database of spammers/robocallers to deny calls with a busy signal.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | about 10 months ago | (#44130109)

You're correct that it should have been a criminal case, but I must take issue with your choice of punishmnent. Clearly, mere prison is inadequate; I recommend execution -- because it's the only way to guarantee they'll never do this again. Otherwise, while they're busy appealling this slap-on-the-wrist fine, they'll be setting up their next company, laundering the assets of their current one, and getting ready to shift operations so that they can pick up where they've left off.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | about 10 months ago | (#44130223)

Execution is too mild. All we get of them is a news report describing an operating room where a nurse sterilizes the injection site, they're injected, and they stop breathing in a few minutes.

I'd rather they be tortured to death over the course of a full year. Publicly available on the internet via IPTV and a highlights reel of the most gruesome violations.

That's the whole point of the death penalty right? To discourage misbehavior? What's better than showing a whole year's worth of literally bleeding-edge suffering in real-time? That makes perfect sense as a way of deterring those involved in corporations from doing things that are illegal. Torture one or two as horrifically as possible for directly harming the people of the US, and watch the rest all fall in line.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130389)

Bleeding heart liberal.

Re: I guess it was worth it then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130615)

Step 1, a fishhook enema.
Step 2, go shark fishing using them as bait.
Step 3, ...
Step 4, justice!

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (4, Funny)

DrXym (126579) | about 10 months ago | (#44130413)

Sew their mouth shut instead. "Tell me Mr Mortgage Investors Corporation director what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?"

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 10 months ago | (#44130855)

Just ban them from ever using a telephone of any variety again, or working for a company which uses them. So not allowed to own or use a landline or cellphone, or work for a company connected to the phone system - which is any company, Show them what it is like not to have the system they have abused

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130159)

Veterans, demand Military court!

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44130401)

Surely Mortgage Investors Corporation pulled in far more than $7.5 Million with this fraud.

Got any evidence for that?

Usually, damages are calculated so that they take away any profit gained from the action and then some. For example, in patent law cases, the penalty is defined as "up to three times the amount found or assessed".

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130669)

On their website they claim to have handled over $43 billion in refinancing, I would expect that they took more than 0.00018% in fees and commissions. I'm not sure how much can be attributed to fraud.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 10 months ago | (#44131063)

For example, in patent law cases, the penalty is defined as "up to three times the amount found or assessed".

But only in cases where the violation was found to be willful, at least with regards to patents. Samsung I believe wasn't found to be willfully infringing on Apple's patents so didn't have their judgement tripled.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 10 months ago | (#44130787)

Surely Mortgage Investors Corporation pulled in far more than $7.5 Million with this fraud. And they certainly caused more than $7.5 Million in damages to their victims and the rest society by blowing phone spam into the property bubble. What's to stop them or anyone else from doing it again? This should have been a criminal case. Prison for the CEO and board of directors would be more of a deterrent for corporate crimes.

Yes, I agree 100%, as does most of society. No fine these days should start with an "m" (as in million), which is a pathetic joke. We should be skipping right to what wakes executive criminals up, speaking in their language of "billions" and/or "minimum mandatory sentence".

And I'm sure they'll get right on that shit...right after they get done prosecuting the "Too Big to Fail" executive team of 2008 that caused the global financial meltdown.

Oh, and please stop holding your breath...you're turning a horrid shade of purple. It's not a good look.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about 10 months ago | (#44130837)

Surely Mortgage Investors Corporation pulled in far more than $7.5 Million with this fraud.

I'm not so sure about that. These are calls to people who asked not to be called, therefore they were more likely to be pissed off than to buy into their crap. I am suprised that even calls made at random result in a net gain for the calling company, because for every customer they gain I guess there is at least one thoroughly pissed off by them.

There are several companies I would never buy from because I got cold calls from them, and moreover I troll them whenever I can :- go to Hell Everest Double Glazing and Talk-Talk, for example. I give out their phone numbers (their private office ones which I found out) whenever I can to other salesmen, among other things.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#44131017)

$7.5 million is "huge"?

Who wrote this article? Dr. Evil?

They probably spent more than that on the executive Xmas party.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (4, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 10 months ago | (#44131079)

Here is the problem. We have many, many over-zealous prosecutors willing to swing an excessive charge sledgehammer at any Aaron Swarts that comes along. This is easy to do and holds little risk for them.

However, when it comes to a corporation that has defrauded^H^H^H^H^HSTOLEN millions, who in the corporation is responsible? The CEO? An upper manager? A cabal of board members? In order to find out, the prosecutor has to do work, and run the gauntlet of that corporations legal department filing every stopping and blocking motion possible, making it less worth their time.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44133319)

Only if "worth their time" is measured in convictions per day instead of dollars per day. I don't think that the Aarons of the world make much money for their prosecutors.

Re:I guess it was worth it then... (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 10 months ago | (#44133187)

Surely Mortgage Investors Corporation pulled in far more than $7.5 Million with this fraud. And they certainly caused more than $7.5 Million in damages to their victims and the rest society by blowing phone spam into the property bubble. What's to stop them or anyone else from doing it again? This should have been a criminal case. Prison for the CEO and board of directors would be more of a deterrent for corporate crimes.

"The Federal Trade Commission today said it has won a $7.5 million civil penalty"

They're not out to fix anything by putting people in prison. They're out to get money.

for allegedly violating (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130037)

Pro-tip: You can stop saying "for allegedly violating" and start saying "for violating" when the guilty verdict is handed down.

Re:for allegedly violating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130311)

PROTIP: Civil cases don't have guilty verdicts.

(Agree with your point though)

$7.5 million for 5 million violations = not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130067)

These clowns were systematically violating the law. They should have been shut down.

A dollar and change for every call made to a number on the DNC list doesn't sound like much of a deterrent. Not to mention the additional charges of fraud.

Final Notice? (1)

Sleepy_Bozo (832939) | about 10 months ago | (#44130157)

Are these the jerks that call me twice a week with my "final notice" to be able to lower my mortgage and credit card rates? And won't identify what company they are? I'm on the Do Not Call list. I've ignored them for weeks, just deleting their message. I've tried telling them I don't have a mortgage and don't use credit cards. (It's true.) I've asked them nicely not to call me anymore. I've offered to buy them a dictionary so they'd know what "final" means and wouldn't look like idiots. I've told them no way would I do business with a company with ethics like theirs. The last time I talked to someone, she said hurriedly, "You're going to keep getting called.", and hung up. I hope it's them, and they got nailed for every time they called me. Twice. At least. And that this is their "final" penalty, using their definition.

Re:Final Notice? (2)

YoungHack (36385) | about 10 months ago | (#44131211)

I ignored them for a long time. Now I press 1 every time, and start asking questions as if I'm interested but don't have a clue how this can work and who they are. One of of the reps said, "Gee what an idiot," before finally hanging up on me.

I'm not sure, but the pace of their calls seems to have slowed now that they know I'm just going to tie them up and cost them money.

Re:Final Notice? (1)

ebh (116526) | about 10 months ago | (#44132323)

Question to ask the telemarketer: "Is this really what you wanted to be when you grew up?"

Huge penalty? (2)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | about 10 months ago | (#44130253)

$7.5 million isn't huge. It's nothing. Compared to the value of the average multinational corporation (eg Proctor and Gamble, Ford, GM, General Electric, the list goes on), it wouldn't amount to a single day's worth of revenue. Take them for every dime, and then another ten times that amount so the executives will have to sleep in the gutters, and be spat upon by us commoners.

Re:Huge penalty? (2)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#44130409)

You've not worked in a corporation, have you?

When the going gets tough, the CEO will be the last to feel it. Lots of regular employees, many working in parts of the corporation having nothing to do with the fraudulent action, will feel it first.

If you want to hit the C-Level, you need to make a criminal case and accuse them directly.

Re:Huge penalty? (3, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44130657)

Thats not exactly true. In lots of cases when the going gets tough the CEO is replaced with another that has a proven track record of digging companies out of the particular tough spot the company finds itself in (at least if the owners/board members know whats good for them.)

For instance, the largest casino in the United States (Foxwoods) ended up with a serious credit problem several years ago. The presiding CEO (Michael Speller) was forced to resign, giving up his golden parachute, and then they brought back in a former CEO (Bill Sherlock) that had left on very good terms (the employees loved him, and the casino grew to be the biggest in the country under his watch) to serve as a temporary intrim until they landed the current CEO (Scott Butera) who is a specialist in digging corporations out of credit problems (his previous position was saving the Tropicana in Atlantic City from its own credit problems.)

Note also that Scott Butera is also renowned as a union-friendly CEO, whereas Speller the CEO they forced out had brought moral down so low that the employees unionized under the mismanagement. So the owners saw the problem and picked up the perfect guy for the situation that they found themselves in, a new CEO that fairly quickly made peace with the union and then fairly quickly got the approximately $2 billion in debt restructured so that the casino could at least make the interest payments rather than continue to default on the loans.

Today the casino has breathing room again, seeking to establish a new property in Massachusetts.

Re:Huge penalty? (1)

havana9 (101033) | about 10 months ago | (#44130779)

$7.5 million isn't huge. It's nothing. Compared to the value of the average multinational corporation

Simples. Crank up the penalties for large corporations, and if a corporation loses a civil case have to pay all the legal expenses for all the parties involved. Join the liability of the corporation to the C-level management, up to twice their yearly income.

Why "allegedly"? (2)

nukenerd (172703) | about 10 months ago | (#44130305)

The FTC having won the case, legally it is now fact surely?

Re:Why "allegedly"? (5, Insightful)

Main Gauche (881147) | about 10 months ago | (#44130871)

It was a settlement. No guilt was ever established. This may also explain the low dollar figure everyone else is talking about.

Re:Why "allegedly"? (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 10 months ago | (#44131857)

This is a continual pattern by the US federal agencies though: When some company is caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they're routinely settling the case for a relatively small fine that just looks like a really big number but is peanuts compared to the profits from the crime. They should, of course, be nailing the company and its officers to the wall.

And this phenomenon isn't a Democratic thing or a Republican thing - the Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all have been routinely doing this.

Do Not Call - ANYONE (4, Insightful)

Dins (2538550) | about 10 months ago | (#44130451)

It's great to see this and all, but it would be nice if there was an easier way to catch these companies. Most block caller ID, and if they are doing it illegally they're not going to give you their contact info if they sense you are trying to bust them.

The thing that pisses me off about the do not call list, is the fucking politicians have conveniently exempted political calls. When I say do not call me, I mean everyone - no charities, no politicians - EVERYONE. It gets nuts in the month preceding an election.

Re:Do Not Call - ANYONE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44130637)

I would listen to a 2 minute political phone call if I were paid $100 for each one.

In cases where the politician does not pay, they are directly placed into prison (not campaign members, the actual asshole politician).

That's nice for the government (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 10 months ago | (#44130649)

Now how about the people that were harassed get that money instead of back to the govt coffers. Oh wait, that's not how it works.

Re:That's nice for the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131503)

I agree with you.. the people who got harassed should get the money. I hope FTC distributes the money to them.

Re:That's nice for the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132095)

Now how about the people that were harassed get that money instead of back to the govt coffers. Oh wait, that's not how it works.

That's fucking a stupid idea.

Why so you can get all those people like 3 or 4 dollars a piece?

It would cost them half of that money to pay for the time, energy and resources needed to contact and verify each and every person that was contacted by them just so they can give them a couple bucks.

It would be a huge waste of money and time.

Wow, what a steal! (2)

pla (258480) | about 10 months ago | (#44130737)

7.5 million over the 10 years the DNC has existed? Chump change compared to the profits.

Hell, it surprises me someone hasn't set up a company specifically using the DNC list as their "good leads" list, and budget for paltry fines like this as just part of the cost of doing business.

Even in this case, it sounds like the "lying through our teeth scamming veterans" had much more to do with the size of the fine than any actual impact on we mere humans who have time and again told companies to fuck right off.

Dear FTC: We want you to quit playing games and start jailing executives for such blatant violations. We want you to whack the casual, somewhat-repentant (to whatever extent you can call a sociopathic-by-design entity "repentant") offenders with the "only" 7.5M stick. Get the hint?

Re:Wow, what a steal! (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 10 months ago | (#44131089)

Hell, it surprises me someone hasn't set up a company specifically using the DNC list as their "good leads" list

Why are people who have opted out of telemarketing calls likely to be "good leads"? I would think they are the least likely people to take you up on whatever you're offering.

Re:Wow, what a steal! (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 10 months ago | (#44131231)

It's a confirmed phone number vs a sequential run through a list or the person might be on the list because they're too susceptible to telemarketers. I recall reading a story where door to door salesmen found folks with "No Solicitors" signs were more likely to buy something from them than someone without such a sign.

[John]

Re:Wow, what a steal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131373)

If telemarketers believed people on the DNC list weren't good leads then they wouldn't call them at all.

Dear FTC: Huntington Theater Company in Boston (1)

aoeusnth (101740) | about 10 months ago | (#44130827)

I love the arts, and in fact have been to see their excellent plays ... but whoever Huntington Theater Company hire to run their calling campaign (for donations) needs to learn about the law. They've turned this liberal into an avid hater of one of the best theater companies in Boston!

"By continuing to listen you affirm ..." (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 10 months ago | (#44130891)

Hope the FTC really uses some good internet sleuths and track down these jerks with spoofed caller id numbers who say stuff like, "... if you are not Dimwiti Diot please hang up. By continuing to listen you affirm you are Dimwiti Diot. This is an attempt to collect debt ..." blah blah blah. I am not sure it will stand up in court they have actually served notice.

They buy bad loans and expired loans at a few cents per dollar, then resell it to dimwits who fall for "make money from home". These chumps are trained to trawl through the net looking at bulletin boards looking for the names on the loan. They pick on a approximate match, and spam every other poster in that thread assuming they must be somehow connected. One Vijay Krishna has a bad loan. Every one who has ever posted on any thread in any board where anyone named Vijay or Krishna had ever posted become targets of such widespread phone spam. Quite frustrating to deal with. If you ever use the 800 numbers they mention and track down the debt collector, it turns out to be another poor chump who had bought expired worthless loans at 1 cent a dollar.

Mr. Number (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131137)

Google play store
It blocks unwanted calls that YOU specify.

Someone should have lunch, write code on a napkin that provides a block service to home phone users then sell it for a dollar a month to everyone who wants it. It would be nice to have a web portal to login and allow/block your own list of "FRIENDS/FAMILY/ETC"
And have everyone else like "CONFLATULATIONS YOU WON A CRUISE press 1 to pay in Spanish, 3 in French and 7 in English) you'ld just forward that to some message that says "screw you" or you could set or a system messsage that causes them to stay connected, run up their phone bill while it never disconnects on their end. It's their call, they are paying for it, why not make it less profitable?

What about those home security systems? (1)

adric22 (413850) | about 10 months ago | (#44131287)

I get a call EVERY DAY from some automated message telling me "The FBI reports there is a break in every 15 minutes" I have tried asking them nicely to stop calling me, tried cursing at them, tried screaming at them, tried threatening them with bodily harm. They still call me EVERY DAY from a different phone number. I asked them yesterday "You have called me over 100 times and I have not been interested. Did you think maybe if you just called me one....more...time.... that I'd change my mind?" If I knew where these people operated out of, I'd burn their building down.

Unwanted phone calls (3, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#44131299)

I have a simple idea for a pretty solid system to deal with all unwanted calls. The idea is that you opt into this system. Then when you receive a call that you don't want you would dial *55 or something. You would never receive a call from that number again but more importantly once some small number of people had *55'd a number nobody who had opted in would receive a call from that number.

This way anybody who makes annoying phone calls would be blacklisted. This would include politicians, survey companies, charities, sales people, even annoying girlfriends. I would trust that anyone who annoys even a small handful of people is someone I don't want phoning me. Charities, politicians, and whatnot would be all indignant about this but if they regularly got *55'd then maybe they should rethink their position in this world.

The key here is no exceptions. I don't want some group self righteously explaining why they should be able to annoy me. Basically I don't want to ever receive a phone call from someone who I don't personally know.

Re:Unwanted phone calls (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 10 months ago | (#44132355)

That would be a great idea if these jackholes didn't use caller ID spoofing to rotate the numbers they call from.

Re:Unwanted phone calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44133463)

This is a neat idea. But it suffers the same problem as identifying who the callers are when they block Caller ID. Both are certainly feasible, but both require some active effort by the phone companies to address the issue. And it isn't in the best interests of the phone companies to do so.

politicians should be included (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131543)

Now, how do we make it so that political campaigns and polls are also not permitted to call numbers on the DNC list??? I LOVE how the lawmakers exempted themselves from the law and now are the worst abusers of all.

Criminal charges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44131855)

Forget the fines that will never be paid. Send everyone at the company to prison and be done with it.

So where's my cut? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 10 months ago | (#44131927)

I had to invest in a selective call-blocking phone last year because of this crap. So when does the FTC plan on giving that money to the people who were actually harmed by these bastards? It's gotten so bad that I've filled all 50 memory locations on the phone.

I'm also baffled by the pathetic anti-robodialer contest winners. They all depend on caller ID which only works about half the time.

"DO NOT HANG UP!!..." EFF YOU!! YOU RAT BASTARD!!

Re:So where's my cut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132617)

I had to invest in a selective call-blocking phone last year because of this crap. So when does the FTC plan on giving that money to the people who were actually harmed by these bastards? It's gotten so bad that I've filled all 50 memory locations on the phone.

I'm also baffled by the pathetic anti-robodialer contest winners. They all depend on caller ID which only works about half the time.

"DO NOT HANG UP!!..." EFF YOU!! YOU RAT BASTARD!!

Your cut of 7.5 million dollars? If they gave everyone a cut of that money that was pestered by this company they would all get maybe 2 or 3 dollars. They would blow through most of the money just paying for the time, manpower, energy just trying to contact and verify everyone that company called. And do all that just for a couple of bucks? What a gigantic waste.

Do Not Call or how to get insulted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132097)

Even on Do Not Call Lists those Ass-holes still call. Nothing much worked until I found a good solution (for me anyway). I answer only if I know the caller on my caller ID otherwise I let my answer machine get the call. The message says "You have reached the Ass-Hole Hot Line. It's exciting to get calls from Ass-hole so to be included in the Ass-Hole List leave your name, number and a short message describing why you are an Ass-Hole. It works great !

It wont matter. It wont solve anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44132263)

The only way you can possibly get rid of telemarketing and telemarketing scams is to make it unprofitable.

You can sue and fine as much as you want but as long as people can make money at it they will never stop. The only way they will ever stop is if they cant make money at it anymore. And obviously they are making a lot of money because it goes on constantly.

Almost... (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 10 months ago | (#44132283)

...and misstated the terms of available loan products during telemarketing calls.

And now we know what the suit really brought in the big bucks for.

This isn't about DNC; it's about presenting misleading information.

I'm waiting for the day that some company really gets busted and taken out of business on DNC violations alone!

Surprised (1)

biggaijin (126513) | about 10 months ago | (#44132607)

Like everyone else on the Do Not Call list, I have been supremely irritated by robo-calls and cold solicitations on my phone, usually at dinnertime and often from an organization that has called several times within a single week. When I investigated how to file a complaint against these vermin, I discovered that it was very difficult. It was difficult to discover whom to contact and after that it was a fairly involved process to actually file a complaint. I decided it was easier to just not answer the phone. That is why I am surprised that any of these rats actually were caught and punished. It's good to hear that the forces of righteousness have exacted some kind of penalty -- but, the amount really isn't very much considering how much time they wasted for many, many people.

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