UPDATED 4/17/2017 “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. The Federal Trade Commission tries to stop Rachel, but the robocalls won’t stop.
Rachel from Cardholder Services robocall
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.
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.’
There are all sorts of robocalls. Some more familiar than others. For every one the FTC stops, dozens more pop up.
Have you heard from the captain? It’s as memorable as Rachel because you’re greeted with a fog horn when you say hello.
The problem is these companies are a dime a dozen. It takes years to take down the companies behind the robocalls leaving consumers frustrated for years.
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.
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 Rachel operation and then she resurfaced.
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.
Tougher robocall rules
Tougher robocall rules are 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 canceled 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. Check to see if your number is on the Do Not Call List.