FTC Settles Robocall Complaint
The FTC announced that three individuals and a telephone call center that helped Florida-based Grand Bahama Cruise Line LLC (GBCL) and others to make millions of illegal robocalls to consumers settled a Federal Trade Commission complaint and are permanently barred from making telemarketing robocalls. The FTC will litigate in federal court against GBCL and six other defendants involved in the massive operation, who have not agreed to settle. The orders also bar the defendants from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The orders impose judgments totaling more than $7.8 million, which are suspended because of the defendants’ inability to pay, except for $2,500 to be paid by Cotroneo
According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants involved in the GBCL operation made or facilitated millions of illegal calls to consumers nationwide pitching free cruise vacations between Florida and the Bahamas. Starting in 2014, the defendants operated their own in-house call center, employing telemarketers to contact consumers nationwide. The FTC alleged that, through 2017, the GBCL operation hired various call centers, including several other defendants, which marketed the cruise vacation packages. GBCL’s telemarketing operation allegedly bought call lists from lead generators that conducted illegal survey robocalls to identify potential customers.
In addition to delivering millions of illegal robocalls through 2018, the defendants never scrubbed their lists against the agency’s Do Not Call Registry, and called phone numbers on the Registry, the FTC alleged. The defendants also illegally called consumers who asked not to be called, and failed to transmit accurate caller ID information, in violation of the agency’s TSR.
“This case shows the FTC’s sustained effort to tackle illegal robocall operations that bombard consumers with unsolicited calls,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “It also demonstrates that anyone who provides substantial assistance to illegal robocall operations may be liable for substantial civil penalties.”
The Regulatory Mix Today: FTC Settles Robocall Complaint, US Senate DIGIT Act
US Senate DIGIT Act
The bipartisan Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, which was reintroduced by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) passed the Senate last week. The bill would convene a working group of federal entities and experts from the private and academic sectors tasked with providing recommendations to Congress on how to facilitate the growth of connected Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. The group’s recommendations would focus on how to plan for, and encourage, the development and deployment of the IoT in the U.S. Additionally, the DIGIT Act directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to complete a report assessing spectrum needs required to support the Internet of Things.
“As connected technology continues to evolve, it’s critical that Congress and the federal government leverage innovation developed in the private sector, and I’m glad the Senate passed the bipartisan DIGIT Act. This bill will improve coordination between the federal government and the technology industry and create opportunities for further deployment of secure IoT devices. I look forward to working with Senators Fischer, Booker, and Schatz to get this bill signed into law,”said Senator Gardner.
“As America moves toward an increasingly connected future, the DIGIT Act will ensure that we remain a technological leader. I am grateful for the work of the bipartisan Senate IoT Working Group on this bill, which would spur innovative solutions across industries to benefit our nation’s families, communities, and businesses. I look forward to the House’s consideration of this legislation,” said Senator Fischer.
“With our bipartisan bill now one step closer to becoming law, we’ll be able to realize the full potential of the Internet of Things, and help the private and public sectors work together to produce well-informed policies on connected technology,” said Senator Schatz.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.