Tag Archives: Robocall

FTC shuts down “Rachel” from Cardholder Services again

In an ideal world, you should no longer hear from “Rachel” with Cardholder Services. The Federal Trade Commission disconnected the lines for five operations the FTC says were responsible for making these Rachel calls. Do I think the calls will stop? Unfortunately, no. It’s the harsh reality of robocalls in 2012.

The FTC is getting 200,000 complaints A MONTH on robocalls and Do Not Call list violations. That’s a ton! It shows how big a problem this is right now for Americans.

The FTC said technology is making it hard to track down the responsible companies. They can fake their phone number or buy a number that’s been resold several times making it more difficult to find the violator.

Also, “Rachel” is used by many companies. The FTC shut one down in 2010 and she’s back. Five more were shut down today. Hopefully that will put a dent in the Rachel calls, but she still might call you.

In her place, the captain is taking over. Have you heard from him offering you a free trip? It’s as memorable as Rachel because you’re greeted with a fog horn when you say hello.

The FTC is taking legal action against these companies, but it admits it doesn’t have a permanent solution. The government agency is offering a $50,000 cash reward to anyone who can come up with a technical solution to the problem. That’s a lot of cash for someone who can answer the government’s desperate plea for help.

Related links you may like:
Your cell phone number is not going public
Prepaid cell phones can cut your bill in half

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Do Not Call Registry complaints up – FTC trying to stop the robocalls

Logo for the United States National Do Not Cal...

Logo for the United States National Do Not Call Registry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are 217 million phone numbers on the Do Not Call list, but millions still say it’s not working for them. Every month 200-300,000 people complain to the FTC. Many of the complaints stem from robocalls or recorded messages.  The Federal Trade Commission is fed up too, and wants your ideas to stop them.

Today, the FTC is holding a robocall summit. The goal is to brainstorm new ideas to stop these annoying calls. One of the most popular, “Rachel from Cardholder Services.” The FTC took action against a company making Rachel calls in 2010, but she’s still calling. Staff Attorney Michael Milgrom is with the FTC in Cleveland, and told me for a NewsChannel 5 article that it’s probably a different Rachel calling now. The software to make Rachel-like calls makes its rounds in the industry, and likely someone else is now using that pre-recorded message.

The FTC said technology makes it difficult to track down the responsible party for the robocall. It’s easy to spoof or fake a number.

Have a complaint or idea? Let the FTC know.

FTC takes action to protect Do Not Call list numbers — will “Rachel” from cardholder services stop calling?

“Hello, this is Rachel at Cardholder Services.” Even though it’s an automated message, so many people feel like they know Rachel because she’s called so many times.  Most people don’t want to get to know Rachel. They want her to stop calling, and the Federal Trade Commission says it’s taking action to make sure her robocalls stop.

The FTC said more than two billion calls were made promoting a variety of products including extended auto warranties and credit card interest rate reduction plans. Under a settlement, the FTC said SBN Peripherals which did business as Asia Pacific Telecom, Inc. will give up $3 million in assets. Plus, the FTC said the company will be banned from telemarketing.

The FTC said most consumers had no idea who was calling because the caller ID simply said “SALES DEPT” and displayed offshore numbers. The FTC said the prerecorded calls were made to numbers on the Do Not Call list.

The credit calls often told you to to press one to speak with an agent to lower your credit card interest rate. In one recording the FTC supplied, the message said it’s urgent you call concerning your eligibility. The FTC said 12.8 million people were actually connected to an agent.

Logo for the United States National Do Not Cal...

Enforcement slow
One of the messages the FTC provided was from “Rachel” at cardholder services. Another caller used another name. It’s unknown if this is the only “Rachel” as lots of people say they’ve heard from a “Rachel.’

The problem is these companies are a dime a dozen. Who knows if the Rachel who called me is the Rachel that was part of this operation. It takes years to take down the companies behind the robocalls leaving consumers frustrated for years. It’s good to see the FTC cracking down, but a NewsChannel 5 investigation recently found few complaints are filed in comparison to the number of complaints filed.

The FTC gets thousands of complaints a day about possible violations of the Do Not Call list. They’ve taken action against fewer than 100 companies despite more than 8 million complaints.

New laws
New robocall rules are also being implemented that close some of the loopholes. A business now needs your written permission before they can call you with prerecorded telemarketing message.

You can refuse the permission in written form or by following a prompt on the voice message which often involves hitting a number on your phone’s keypad. You will be given directions at the beginning of the call telling you how to opt out.

Informational calls are still allowed like one from the airline letting you know your flight is cancelled or a reminder about an appointment or prescription refill. Debt collectors are also allowed to call.

If your name is on the Do Not Call list, hopefully another “Rachel” won’t be calling you soon. Click here to make sure your number is registered.

Related stories you may like:
Cell phone numbers are not going public
Do Not Call list complaints rise

Refund forms in the mail for robocaller victims

If you get a claim form in your mailbox from the Federal Trade Commission or a company called Analytics, don’t throw it away. It could get you a refund for an auto warranty you purchased.

11,780 forms were mailed to consumers defrauded by auto warranty robocalls.  The Federal Trade Commission says consumers who received the call and bought warranties from Transcontinental Warranty, Inc. will receive the form. The FTC alleged Transcontinental hired Voice Touch to call consumers with prerecorded messages in 2009.

You’ll have 60 days to complete the form and mail it back to the claims administrator.  Note the administrator is not the FTC, so it is a legit form if the return address is to Analytics, Inc.

The amount of your refund will be determined based on the number of people who return forms.

The Federal Trade Commission alleges Transcontinental was just one of several companies for which Voice Touch used robocalls.  So far, the claims are only going out to consumers who purchased Transcontinental contracts.

For more information, visit the FTC website.