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FCC may fine presidential campaign robocallers up to $4.8 million

FCC may fine presidential campaign robocallers up to $4.8 million

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The FCC has issued citations to two companies accused of making millions of illegal robocalls each during the 2012 US Presidential campaign. Automated calling companies Dialing Services, LLC and Democratic Dialing are alleged to have made calls to cellphones without prior authorization from the recipient — a legal requirement for making automated calls to mobile phones. As CNN Money reports, the companies under fire from the FCC were affiliated with political campaigns during periods of 2011 and 2012. They can be held liable for up to $16,000 per call, but the FCC is only looking to impose fines up to $4.8 million.

As part of its investigation of the automated calling companies, the Telecommunications Consumers Division — part of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau — randomly sampled ten people who had been dialed from each of the two companies. No one that the division spoke to had agreed to be called, and the FCC notes that many expressed significant frustration from the calls. One person responding to whether they had signified permission to be called said, "[n]ot only ‘no', but HELL no."

Recently, the FTC has been "ratcheting up" efforts against robocalls to mobile phones. In October the commission announced a contest seeking technical solutions that could stop the automated calls — but its efforts didn't quite pan out. These first steps may not be enough to have an effect on robocalling companies, but the FCC is certainly moving forward in the fight against the nuisance.