Looks like our old computerized telemarketing friend "Rachel from Cardholder Services" won't be calling again, after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finishes pulling the plug on the five companies responsible for millions of Rachel's scam- loaded robocalls.
For months, the five Arizona- and Florida-based companies responsible for "Rachel" placed millions of illegal prerecorded calls pitching a bogus credit card interest rate reduction plan.
According to FTC court complaints, after collecting up-front fees of up to $3,000 for their "services," the companies did little or nothing to actually help consumers.
"At the FTC, Rachel from Cardholder Services is public enemy number one," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a press release. "We're cracking down on illegal robocalls by bringing law enforcement actions and pursuing technical solutions to the problem."
To help come up with those "technical solutions," the FTC in October announced a nationwide Robocall Challenge offering a $50,000 prize for to anyone who can develop an application to block robocalls.
Also See: How To File A Telemarketing Complaint
In separate complaints filed in U.S. district courts, the FTC seeks to permanently stop; Treasure Your Success, Ambrosia Web Design, A+ Financial Center, LLC, The Green Savers, LLC and Key One Solutions, LLC from placing automated telemarketing calls.
In each of the five cases, the courts issued temporary restraining orders immediately halting the companies' telemarketing operations pending further court proceedings. So, hang up, Rachel.
Most prerecorded telemarketing robocalls have been banned since Sept. 1, 2009. Since that date, telemarketers who place robocalls to consumers who have not agreed in writing to accept such calls may face penalties up to $16,000 per call.