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PSC fines are much ado about nothing

Every so often, I will answer the phone, and there will be some telemarketer trying to sell me something or another.

I am on the no-call list, mind you. So, I really shouldn’t be getting these calls.

Everyone knows what I am talking about. You are trying to eat dinner or help kids with their homework and some knothead calls with an “offer of a lifetime.” It drives you crazy.

So, I get it when, after the Public Service Commission fined a pair of companies a record $5.7 million for misdeeds, Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz said, “Take their kids if we have to. They need to go to jail.”

OK, well, maybe we don’t need to take their kids.

But Bentz’ point is that most of these companies do not have that kind of money laying around in the petty cash drawer (do people even have petty cash drawers anymore?).

There has to be some way of making companies pay for what they have done to us poor folks who answer the telephone.

In this case, the fines were levied against Purchase Power Solutions, LLC of Chandler, Ariz.; ELH Consulting of Tucson, Ariz.; and two directors, Lisa Miller and Emory L. Holley IV.

The companies and directors failed to respond to legal complaints from the Mississippi PSC. The commission levied the maximum $5,000 fine for each of 1,141 violations.

Until now, the largest fine imposed by Mississippi regulators for no-call violations had been the $945,000 levied in May against Roy M. Cox of Santa Ana, Calif.

But rarely does the state of Mississippi ever see this money.

So, Bentz is suggesting we take whatever can from these people — even their kids — to exact our revenge.

Point taken.

We want to take whatever action we can to keep unscrupulous people from taking advantage of Mississippians, like in this case in which Jeff Jernigan, a staff attorney for the PSC, said that the Arizona defendants were offering a service where people could consolidate debt.

In one case, a consumer accepted the offer, was charged about $800 and received only two compact discs in the mail.

But the phone calls keep coming to my house and now even my cell phone.

It doesn’t appear that we are making a dent in the problem. I am hopeful we can get enough money out of these scoundrels to pay back people like the ones who were taken advantage of in this situation.

Yet, beyond that, we seem to have commissioners using the vote to continue their tough talk against telemarketers while not delivering much more.

Now, if we find out that Bentz has adopted some kids from Arizona, then we might be getting somewhere.

Just kidding.


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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