Robocalls: All the Rage

Wanted: Rachel, Card Member ServicesLike the character in the 70s movie “Network,” many people are “mad as hell and not going to take this anymore.” What’s causing all this anger? Robocalls. Yes, those annoying pre-recorded messages that try to sell you something you don’t need. You may have heard, for example, from the infamous “Rachel” from “Card Member Services” whose recorded voice promises she can reduce the interest rate on your credit cards.

A 2009 rule outlaws many of these automated calls, but cheap internet calling and other technologies make robocalling too tempting for many telemarketers. That’s why the FTC is convening Robocalls: All the Rage, a one-day conference —  it’s free and open to the public — set for October 18, 2012, in Washington, DC.

This summit will focus on the search for technological solutions to reduce the number of illegal robocalls. It’s a packed agenda, kicked off by FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. Discussions will include information about the technology that powers robocalls, law enforcement challenges, and possible solutions. The day will end with an announcement by David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Robocalls: All the Rage logo

Registration begins at 8:15 AM at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., in Washington DC. Can’t make it in person? Watch the webcast. During the conference, you can tweet questions using the hashtag #FTCrobo or ask questions via the FTC's Facebook page.


if you track down Rachel, arrest her and fine her company.
She has called my house dozens of times. Enough is enough!

Great! My wife and I are at our wit's end with commercial robocalls. We registered with all the "do not call" lists. Hah! Joke. They are ignored. We get at least one every day, often three or four. One suggestion - Congress should enact legislation requiring all robocallers to register with the Bureau of Consumer Protection (like lobbyists) and to use an ID when making calls. Stiff penalties for violations. Another idea - require all telecom companies to keep records of robo callers and report them to the CPB. They should have the technology to do this.

Great! Long overdue. We registered for all the "do not call" lists. Joke! They're ignored. Small population of robocallers, but they call repeatedly and often. Two suggestions: (1)enact federal law to require all robocallers to register with CPB and use registration numbers in making calls, so they can be identified. (2) Require Telecom companies to notify identity of all robo-callers. They should have the technology for this. Thanks for doing this.

I wish I could squirt a big splash of water right into their robo mouths right thru the phone-maybe with some hot peppers included!!

buy top up cards that limit talk time to only what you ccan afford.
TEXT MESSAGING!!!! even less expensive.
don't have to be interrupted.
phone companies block telemarketers...don't they?

The politicians are the worst abusers. Don't expect Congress to do anyhting!


Not all robocalls are illegal; calls from political candidates and charities are excempt from the law. For more info, check out:

I have become so fed up with Rachel and company I just press 1 ( or whatever ) to get a live person then set the phone down and walk away. They hang up within 30 seconds . Since the robo calls come whatever I do i thought I might as well waste some of their time too.

I, myself, enjoy getting a live person after a robocall to have them "detail" me on whatever product it is. I made a game out of it. It started wit my brother and I. Get the guy/girl on live call, and see how long you can keep them on. For example, after they explain their product, you simply say, "I'm sorry, my child was distracting me." You'd be surprised how many time you can get someone to repeat the same things before hanging up.

Thanks, FTC, for finally starting to address this universal scourge. For years, the Do Not Call list worked. Then the predators realized no one was enforcing it, so robocalls (and robo-SMS) have become constant harassment. If the federal government cannot stop this pervasive invasion and abuse, many of us will lost faith in its ability to serve citizens instead of only businesses.

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