Harsher penalties loom for ‘do not call’ list violators

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Modern wireless technology has made it easy to conduct business, keep in touch with family and friends, do your banking, and even make purchases while on the go.

But one of the problems with always being connected is that you can also be bombarded with calls and texts from someone trying to sell you something.

The state Department of Consumer Protection receives hundreds of complaints about this every year.

“I’m at work, I think it’s some family member calling me and I look at my phone, they’re trying to sell me some kind of sweepstakes or some carnival cruise or something like that,” said Girard Drummer of Hartford. “I hate it.”

(MORE: How the ‘do not call’ law operates, is enforced)

“I receive all these phone numbers that I don’t recognize,” said Danielle Rich of Cromwell “It’s not people in my phone so I don’t answer the call. When they do leave messages, it’s all things I’ve never heard of, didn’t sign up for, don’t know what it is.”

In a small number of cases, the complaints are about a Connecticut company. In those cases, Consumer Protection officials back the current $11,000 penalty.

“They look like U.S. numbers but they are not U.S. numbers,” said Hosam Hannah of South Windsor.

The majority of the complaints involve unknown or out-of-state numbers and companies, which the state refers to the Federal Trade Commission.

State lawmakers are moving to double the penalties for violating the “do not call” list and want to add text messages as a violation.

“We have to amend it to add basically the definition (for) text messages into the actual statute,” said Sen. Paul Doyle (D) of the General Law Committee. “It’s kind of modernizing the statute.”

The new law would also require the phone companies to include a flyer in their bills that explains the “do not call” procedure and instructions on making a complaint.

You can register your phone (landline or cell) to the “do not call” list by calling 1-888-382-1222 or visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s website, where you can also verify registration or submit a complaint.

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