Home » OPINION » Columns » TED CARTER — Hammer comes down on those predatory robocallers (kind of)

TED CARTER — Hammer comes down on those predatory robocallers (kind of)

TED CARTER

TED CARTER

Here’s something for the “Don’t-Spend-it-All –in-One-Place” file.

The Mississippi PSC’s Brandon Presley says the robo offenders have promised to quit annoying Mississippians.

The unscrupulous folks behind those annoying robocalls you’ve been getting have agreed to settle with the State of Mississippi for about the price of a compact automobile.

The offenders, including serial annoyer Caribbean Cruise Line,  admit to violating the state’s No-Call Law but together will pay a fine of $22,136.

Oh, forgot.  There’s an extra 34 cents to go into the kitty as well. That will be three dimes and four pennies, please.

Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley was so proud of getting that extra 34 cents into the settlement he emailed out a press release late Monday. He attached a giant mug shot of himself to the release.

If only the fine could be anywhere as large.

He may not have broke the offenders’ bank accounts but thinks he put a serious dent in them. This, he says, “sends a clear message to predatory telemarketers that we won’t tolerate the harassment of Mississippians.”

Here’s some of what Presley reports:

The Mississippi Public Service Commission in conjunction with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and the Federal Trade Commission, along with nine other states, jointly initiated a federal lawsuit against political survey robocallers illegally pitching cruise line vacations, among other products. They filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. It alleges millions of dollars in violations of the federal Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.

Here’s where the money comes in:

Certain defendants have already reached a settlement in this case, and will pay Mississippi $22,136.34 as a result of their alleged wrongdoing. “The PSC regularly goes after these unscrupulous telemarketers who continue to harass the citizens of the State of Mississippi,” PSC Chairman Lynn Posey says.

Attorney General Hood hopes the fine of $22.134 “sends a clear message to marketers that you can’t circumvent the law.”

Good luck with that.

Here are the robocall predators who will be ponying up the settlement:

1. Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc. (Not to be confused with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The offending outfit here is a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Lines.)

2. Steve Hamilton.

3. Linked Service Solutions LLC, Scott Broomfield, and Jason Birkett.

4. Economic Strategy and Jacob DeJongh.

The settlement orders bar Caribbean Cruise Line and other settling defendants from engaging in abusive telemarketing practices, including calling customers whose phone numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry, calling anyone that has previously said they don’t want to be called again, failing to transmit accurate caller ID information, and placing illegal robocalls.

The orders also require the cruise line to monitor its lead generators on an ongoing basis and Hamilton to terminate any clients placing telephone calls that would violate the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Yeah, yeah. But isn’t the privacy of Mississippians worth more than a late model Chevy compact?

Want help from the Telemarketing Sales Rule?

Mississippians can add their home telephone number to Mississippi’s No Call list by contacting the PSC at 1-800-356- 6430 or online at www.psc.state.ms.us/nocall.

» Contact MBJ staff writer Ted Carter at 601-364-1017 or ted.carter@msbusiness.com

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