Photo (cc) by MLazarevski
The robocalls you receive on your cellphone can be more than just annoying. Chances are they’re illegal.
The Federal Communications Commission says it plans to fine Dialing Services LLC $2.94 million for making illegal robocalls to mobile phones, even after being warned to stop making the calls in March of 2013. The FCC said the prerecorded voice messages were for political campaigns and candidates.
According to The Consumerist, “While it’s legal to make political robocalls to landline phone numbers during an election campaign, it’s never legal to make a non-emergency robocall to a consumer’s wireless phone without his or her permission.”
The FCC said in its notice that New Mexico-based Dialing Services, which offers robocalling service to third-party clients, was previously cited for making more than 4.7 million illegal robocalls to mobile phones during the 2012 election cycle. The company was warned that “it could be held liable for penalties up to $16,000 per call.”
The robocalling service didn’t stop the calls, the FCC said, and made a minimum of 184 new illegal calls to cellphones. The FCC says it plans to levy the maximum fine of $16,000 per call and slap the firm with a $2.94 million fine.
The FCC described robocalls as “harassing, intrusive, and unwanted” in its notice to Dialing Services. I think anyone who’s received a robocall, particularly on their cellphone, would agree, though some people would likely use harsher language.
“Robocalling cellphones without a consumer’s consent is not only annoying, it is unlawful,” Travis LeBlanc, acting chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, said in a statement.
It may seem like a nearly $3 million fine is steep. But it seems Dialing Services received fair warning. Imagine if the FCC had fined them for the 4.7 million robocalls made in 2012.
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