FTC Releases FY 2018 Data on Robocall Complaints

The Federal Trade Commission has issues the DNC Registry Data Book for FY 2018. The Data Book provides comprehensive information about robocall complaints and a state-by-state analysis. The data reflects a significant increase in the number of active DNC Registry registrations from FY 2017. It also reflects a decrease in the number of consumer complaints.

Registration and Complaint Data

According to the Data Book, at the end of FY 2018, the DNC Registry contained 235,302,818 actively registered phone numbers, up from 229,816,164 at the end of FY 2017. The number of consumer complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls significantly decreased, from 7,157,337 in FY 2017 to 5,780,172 in FY 2018.

The FTC has continued to receive many consumer complaints about telemarketing robocalls during the last fiscal year. However, this number has also decreased.

According to the data, in FY 2018 the FTC received 3,790,614 complaints about robocalls. Compare this with 4,501,960 in FY 2017.

Frequent Complaints

The Data Book sets forth that the most frequently reported robocalls pertain to reducing debt, medical and prescriptions, and imposter scams. Robocalls about vacations and timeshares, and warranties and protection plans, are no longer in the top three complaint topics.

State data is quite interesting. New Hampshire leads the nation in active DNC registrations per capita, but the states reporting the number of complaints per capita has changed. The top three states are now Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.

Data Book Features

To Data Book includes various features, including, the number of DNC complaints about robocalls versus live callers, information about the topics of calls reported to the FTC and a state-by-state analysis of DNC complaints.

Complying With the Telemarketing Sales Rule

The Telemarketing Sales Rule can be enforced by the FTC and state attorneys general. Illegal robocalls are a regulatory priority according to FTC lawyer Joseph Simons. The TSR is designed to provide law enforcement with tools to combat telemarketing fraud, give consumers added privacy protections and defenses, and help consumers tell the difference between fraudulent and legitimate telemarketing.

Without limitation, the TSR mandates the disclosure of specific information, prohibits misrepresentations, limits when telemarketers may call consumers, requires transmission of Caller ID information, prohibit abandoned outbound calls, prohibits unauthorized billing, sets payment restrictions and requires that specific business records be maintained for two years.

Recent amendments to the TSR include, without limitation, prohibitions on the use of remotely created payment orders and checks, cash-to-cash money transfers, and cash reload mechanisms in both outbound and inbound telemarketing. Amendments have also expanded the TSR’s prohibition of recovery services to apply to losses in any prior transaction, not just prior telemarketing transactions, and clarified a number of Do Not Call and other TSR provisions.

FTC defense lawyer Richard B. Newman explains that if telemarketing campaigns involve calls across state lines — whether outbound calls or inbound in response to advertising — marketers may be subject to the TSR’s provisions.

The Federal Communications Commission enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which also regulates telemarketing.

Richard B. Newman is a telemarketing attorney at Hinch Newman. Follow him on Facebook and LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/company/ftcdefenselawyer

Informational purposes only. Not legal advice. Previous case results do not guarantee similar future result. Hinch Newman LLP | 40 Wall St., 35th Floor, New York, NY 10005 | (212) 756-8777.

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