Fix DO-NOT-CALL with *72.
ROBO CALLS VIOLATE THE DO NOT CALL REGISTRY MILLIONS? OF TIMES EVERY DAY. There should be an automated response to these automated abuses. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD WORK: After an unwanted telemarketer calls your Do-Not-Call listed phone, simply dial *RB (*72) and hang up. The caller's number and your number should be automatically added to a database and sent to the FTC. If the FTC receives 10 complaints in an hour or 30 in a day then they should block the line. Then the FTC can work with the company to find out what the problem is if it is not abuse. The phone companies already have the *69 technology so this shouldn't be hard to implement. Search on "Star Codes" for you phone provider and you will see they have several codes to recall last number, block anonymous calls, block specific callers, etc. OPTION: I would settle for non-automatic blocking if the FTC could investigate the alleged abuse within one hour. Otherwise the line should be shut down until appealed. MY EXPERIENCE: Our 5 phones have been on the Do-Not-Call registry since day one in 2004. We still get daily calls. The reporting system is cumbersome and ineffective. One company has called me 7 times a week for years and I can't get it to stop. "Hi, this is Rachael, from card member services...". (They claim to be calling on behalf of your credit card companies but the credit card companies say it a scam) Each week the phone number changes. It wastes my time and I have to pay for cell charges unless I document the calls and request refunds from my cell provider. CURRENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURE TAKES 20 MINUTES: The www.donotcall.gov site says it takes 2.5 minutes to report a call. They don't take into account the time you have to stay on the phone and try and get the real company name, real phone number, and real person's name. Once you start asking a real person these questions then they hang up. You have to lie and sound interested in the product and have to find a pen and paper and a spot to write it all down with the date and time. You then power up your pc, go to the web site, and fill in the complaint form. If only 1 in 100 people take the time to do this you still don't know if it has had any effect. If few people take the time to report then the FTC must calculate how many responses constitute a problem big enough to act on. I assume their processing time will take longer than the few days it takes for a company to finish with one phone number and buy another one. PROPOSED FIX: The *69 phone feature already has the real phone number, date, and time in the phone computer systems. My phone number is already in the system. We can use this computerized info immediately. If we are given a simple code like *RB(*72) to type in right after a call, then all the needed info can be sent directly to the FTC's DoNotCall reporting system. A higher percentage of people will actually report abuse. Electronically collecting these complaints can provide real-time reporting summaries of hot abuses to take action on. The action can be swift and cost effective. It may even save the FTC some operational costs. Telemarketers are already coddled by the DoNotCall Registry. They get their first 5 area codes of listings free to compare against their numbers to call. They pay only $54 per extra area code. If you are concerned that the telemarketer could be unfairly blocked, then remember that each person they call can only get one chance to dial *72 and complain. No one can stack the complaint box against a company. This is an improvement on the current system because now anyone can make as many reports, true or not, against a company. Once it is automated the FTC complaint department wont have to research to see if complaints are duplicates. The FTC web site does not list how many companies they have taken action against. What would you guess is the percent of companies that follow the rules? The good companies suffer a loss when they have to use other methods of marketing while their not-so-good competitors get away with violating the regulations. Fixing this system is good for making a level playing field for market competition. HELP STOP ELDER ABUSE: Telemarketers are a great nusance to many of us but there are peticularly aggregious scams against the elderly that could also be curbed by this feature. Give the elderly a concrete method to get back at those who would swindle them. Empower our seniors. SIMILARITY TO THE DO-NOT-FAX RULE: Many of us have turned off our incoming FAX machines. The law was (maybe still is) that unwanted FAXes were supposed to pay you $50 for the violation. I had hundreds of unwanted faxes but could never report them. You actually have to get a Police Report on each fax so that you can petition the phone company to get you the real company name and phone number. But if the call originated from out of state or at a 1-800 number you would need an FBI report to pursue it across state lines. That is when I gave up. I did get the Police Reports once but thought this was a waste of my tax dollars.