Telemarketing company VMS has agreed to pay $3.4 million in fines for violating the National Do Not Call Registry. Following an extensive investigation, the Federal Trade Commission determined the company unlawfully contacted millions of customers via telephone.
In a 2012 investigative report, conducted by the Today show, VMS President Jay Gotra denied the accusation. Gotra said VMS only contacts customers who provide their phone numbers and ask to be called.
Two years later, VMS has agreed to pay a $3.4 million penalty.
Diana Mey said she received repeated calls from VMS, although she is clearly included on the National Do Not Call Registry. Mey eventually joined a class action lawsuit against the telemarketing company. However, the calls did not stop. Mey recorded at least one call from the VMS after joining the lawsuit.
Although the company did not admit or deny the accusations, they have agreed to pay a settlement of $3.4 million. Per the settlement agreement, VMS is prohibited from contacting anyone on the National Do Not Call Registry. To assure compliance, the Federal Trade Commission will closely monitor the company’s operations.
FTC official Robert Anguizola said VMS’s $3.4 million fine “is a victory” for the commission and consumers:
“VMS and other marketers have to make sure they’re not calling people on the Do Not Call list… They can’t simply rely on the say-so of a vendor and just call people willy nilly.”
In an official statement, VMS explained that they are committed “to getting things right.” They admit that “the controversy over sales practices… has been unfortunate.” However, they have resolved to avoid future violations.
Although more than 220 million numbers are listed on the National Do Not Call Registry, consumers continue to receive unwanted calls. In 2010, just over 1.5 million consumers filed complaints against telemarketing companies. Three years later, the complaints increased to nearly four million.
News Max reports that the increase in unwanted calls and complaints is likely caused by new technology and a decrease in long-distance calling rates.
As many companies rely on computers to generate numbers, and make the calls, the National Do Not Call Registry is often ignored. Anguizola said VMS “employed lead generators, who were placing millions of illegal robocalls.”
Unwanted telemarketing calls are an ongoing issue. However, consumers can reduce or eliminate the calls by adding their name to the National Do Not Call Registry. Although VMS was fined $3.4 million, they have not publicly admitted making illegal calls.
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