Consumers have long been in telemarketers’ sights, while legislators and regulators have in turn had those pesky telemarketers in their own crosshairs for almost as long.
But telecom carriers, whose networks deliver those unwanted communications, could also find themselves targeted by potential regulations and laws.
This has caused many of them to step up their attempts to quash the intrusive and often illegal behaviours of telemarketers, in particular, those using robots to make the calls.
Consumer advocates contend carriers’ efforts at self-policing are too little too late, but regulatory efforts such as the largely toothless national Do Not Call Registry and similar state versions, which are ignored by innumerable telemarketers, have fallen ridiculously short of solving the problem.
The rise of robocalling — Internet-based calls that can be made in bulk from anywhere in the world — has further complicated an already unmanageable problem.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of consumer complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls that were received increased from just under 3.6m during 2015 to just over 5.3m during 2016.
No wonder consumers and groups that claim to represent them continue pressuring carriers, regulators and legislators to find solutions that will put an end to telemarketing annoyances and scams.
Carriers need to confront the robocalling problem aggressively to show their critics that they are on the side of consumers.
In addition, carriers that blaze a trail in this area could position themselves as the robocallers’ worst enemy and consumers’ best friend.