I am certain that there must be thousands of Federal Trade Commission employees monitoring the government’s Do Not Call registry. But like the war on drugs, the war on poverty and so many other well-intentioned government programs, we also seem to be losing the war on telemarketing.
Ever answer the phone but no one responded after you have opened with a friendly hello? Then several more of your greetings are met with silence. If you are patient, a recorded message may offer you the chance of a lifetime, an offer too good to pass up or a method of extending your life by decades.
Who among us has not received a call announcing that an emergency response bracelet has been purchased by a loved one and now awaits only your approval for shipment? Don’t tell me you haven’t been offered a lower home mortgage rate? A robocall offers duct cleaning and free furnace inspection. These are just a few current examples of violations prohibited by the DNC program.
Why is it necessary for us to report offenders by name, product and phone number in order to track down these commercial scofflaws? If the National Security Agency can dip into private conversations and read confidential e-mails, it seems the FTC could identify, charge and fine offending telemarketers. I doubt that many would flee to Russia for asylum.
Maybe the FTC can fix the broken program; then again, it would probably just make it even worse.