The Federal Communications Commission has levied the single highest robocalling fine in its history: $2.96 million against Travel Club Marketing, Inc., a Florida-based company which, according to the FCC, “made or initiated at least 185 'robocalls,' all of which were unsolicited, prerecorded advertising calls to over 142 consumers who had not consented to the robocalls and the majority of whom had placed their telephone number on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.”

The FCC went on to say that at the time Travel Club made the robocalls, the Communications Act and FCC rules required consumers give express consent for all robocalls made to cell phones, and either “prior express consent or an established business relations[hip]” for robocalls made to residential phone lines.

Since then, the rules have grown even more stringent – in October 2013, the Commission removed the established business relationship exemption, and henceforth required “prior express consent be in writing for all advertising robocalls.”

The federal docket shows that the FCC first recommended a fine against Travel Club in 2011.

Unwanted robocalls

If you've been receiving unwanted robocalls, this FCC web portal offers options to file complaints about problem phone calls (in addition to filing complaints regarding TV, radio, the Internet, emergency communications, and Access for People with Disabilities).

The National Do Not Call Registry portal is here, and allows options to register a phone number, verify a registration, or (for already-registered members) submit a complaint. And – since scammers now imitate every legitimate aspect of life – the Do Not Call Registry Portal also has this warning on its front page: “Scammers have been making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls claim to provide an opportunity to sign up for the Registry. These calls are not coming from the Registry or the Federal Trade Commission, and you should not respond to these calls.”

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