Applause and advice for FTC as it continues "Do Not Call" crackdown

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced that it is cracking a few heads in an effort to get it through the thick skulls of telemarketers that "do not call" means you're not supposed to call.

The news is most welcome in my household, which continues to be besieged by these vermin despite being on the federal government's do-not-call list.

More on my personal misery in a moment, but first there is this from the FTC press release:

The Federal Trade Commission today announced a law enforcement crackdown on

companies and individuals accused of violating the requirements of the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, resulting in six settlements collectively imposing nearly $7.7 million in civil penalties.

The actions, brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the FTC's behalf, are against companies ranging from adjustable bed seller Craftmatic Industries, Inc. (Craftmatic) to alarm-monitoring provider ADT Security Services (ADT) and lender Ameriquest Mortgage Company (Ameriquest), and bring to 34 the number of cases filed by the FTC to enforce the DNC Rule, which was implemented in 2003. To date, more consumers have put more than 145 million numbers on the Registry, indicating they do not want to receive calls from telemarketers at home.

OK, back to the phone number that matters most: mine. My family moved about a year-and-a-half ago, leaving behind an unlisted telephone number that attracted telemarketing calls so rarely that I was fond of saying that the couple bucks a month it costs to be unlisted is the best bargain around.

At the new place, we're listed, for a variety of reasons, none having anything to do with a desire to chat with telemarketers at dinnertime. I did dawdle a bit getting the new number on the DNC registry, but it's been there for a year or so now and we still get telemarketers calling several times a week.

While there has been the occasional credit card offer and miscellaneous others, one industry has stood out as being by far the most egregious offender. So here's my advice to FTC investigators as they continue their crackdown efforts:

Grab a Yellow Pages directory. Turn to the section where it lists mortgage lenders. Impose fines upon each and every one of them until their noses bleed. Just start with the A's - I see you did that already with Ameriquest - and run right on through the Z's.

Maybe then they'll stop calling us.

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