SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Many people who have been on the ‘National Do Not Call Registry’ for years say at some point it started to feel like it just wasn’t working.
“I got two already today…I got two yesterday,” retired engineer Fred Parkes told ConsumerWatch.
Parkes said he gets an average of two calls a day for everything from medical alert subscriptions to solar panels.
“They’re violating the law because they are calling my number, which is on the do not call list,” he said.
But that might not be entirely true because many of the numbers are local, which means they aren’t illegal.
“The federal law only applies to interstate commerce….so they generally cant go after telemarketers calling from within your own state,” says Bikram Bandy of the Federal Trade Commission.
For those that do violate the federal law, enforcement far from automatic.
“We get several hundred thousand complaints a month and obviously we don’t have the resources to investigate each of those complaints individually,” said Bandy.
In fact, the FTC has only taken action against 600 illegal telemarketers since the list’s inception in 2003.
Bandy says that the problem would likely be much worse without the registry and insisted that the agency does go after the worst offenders. However, telemarketers are using technology like voice over the internet and spoofing that allow them to make calls cheaply without leaving a trail.
“We are actively trying to get into the hands of consumers technology that will act like a spam filter for the phone,” says Bandy.
Until then, people like Fred Parkes may continue to feel bombarded.