FTC Continues TSR Crack Down

As part of its ongoing efforts to crack down on illegal pre-recorded robocalls, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action against an operation that allegedly helped clients make illegal robocalls, call phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, and mask Caller ID information, in violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.

This conduct generated tens of thousands of complaints from consumers. The FTC’s complaint, filed on its behalf by the Department of Justice, seeks to make the defendants pay civil penalties and stop the illegal calls.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Sonkei Communications, Inc., Peter J. Turpel, and Joseph Turpel sold robocall services to telemarketers offering credit card services, home security systems, and grant procurement programs since at least 2008.

The defendants allegedly gave clients the means to hide their identity by transmitting inaccurate caller names on caller ID displays, such as “SERVICE MESSAGE” or “SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.” The FTC also alleged that the defendants knew, or consciously avoided knowing, that their clients called phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

In numerous instances on or after September 1,2009, Defendants were aware or consciously avoided knowing that their telemarketing clients made outbound calls that delivered prerecorded messages to induce the sale of goods or services when the persons to whom these telephone calls were made had not expressly agreed, in writing, to authorize the seller to place prerecorded calls to such person.

The complaint explains that consumers have suffered and will continue to suffer injury as a result of Defendants’ violations of the TSR. Absent injunctive relief by this Court, Defendants are likely to continue to injure consumers and harm the public interest.

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