Friday, May 15, 2009

Robocalls

I haven’t gotten one on my phone, but the desk next to mine — which is vacant — has been getting the infamous robobcalls and leaving messages from a company here in Florida scamming people into buying worthless “extended” warranties on their cars. Apparently the telemarketer is calling every phone number in an area, regardless of whether or not the number is on the Do Not Call list. On the rare occasion that I’ve been able to grab the call at the other desk, any attempt to get the number off the list ends up with the operator hanging up on me before I can say to stop calling.

Well, they called the wrong guy: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) got one on his cellphone, and he turned around and got the Federal Trade Commission on the case.

The complaints, filed in United States District Court in Chicago, accuses the telemarketer, Voice Touch Inc. and the warranty seller, Transcontinental Warranty Inc., both of Florida, of deceptive sales practices and violating telemarketing rules. The agency requested an injunction forcing the defendants to return what it described as “ill-gotten gains.”

“These calls are annoying, but worse, many Americans have been fleeced by these companies,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “I am pleased by the F.T.C.’s quick action on our request, and look forward to these calls being stopped and the ill-gotten gains returned to their victims.”

If I believed in such a place, there would be a hot spot in Hell for telemarketers.