Do Not Call list enforcements questioned as Valley residents get telemarketer calls

It can happen early in the day, or late at night and usually happens at the worst times.

Telemarketer calls can be annoying, even more so if you've listed your number with the Do Not Call Registry.

That's supposed to prevent most solicitation calls.

But the ABC15 Investigators found millions of people complaining about calls, even though their number is on the registry.

TELLS US YOUR TELEMARKETING HORROR STORIES

The people complaining say they want more enforcement.

HAL'S "DO NOT CALL REGISTRY" FRUSTRATION

Hal Stewart of Scottsdale is one of those people.

Hal says he's been part of the Do Not Call Registry since 2005.

Yet, he says he's received more than 100 unwanted calls and faxes and can't get them to stop.

In fact, he showed me seven faxes he received from the same company.

Hal complains to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after each call or fax he gets.

Hal did get action with one of the Arizona businesses he complained about, but he says he's frustrated more isn't being done.

The FTC and the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Do Not Call Registry.

The Registry started in 2003.

If you take the time and list your number there, telemarketers are not supposed to call you, with a few exceptions.

THE COMPLAINTS VS. ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

William Maxson with the FTC says he believes the list and enforcement of violators have been effective.

And the FTC has gone after some big name companies like DirectTv, DishTV and Columbia House.

Maxson says they have collected more than $500 million in fines.

But the ABC15 Investigators went through FTC records that are publicly available online.

We found there have been more than 8 million complaints since the Registry began.

That's an average of about 1 million a year.

Maxson says the FTC took about 78 enforcement actions against violators during that time.

That averages about 10 enforcement actions a year.

READ THE FULL FTC DO NOT CALL REPORT FOR 2010

Maxson told the ABC15 Investigators those actions cover more than 400 individuals and businesses.

And he says the FTC goes after those people or businesses that it believes are doing the most harm.

VALLEY RESIDENTS COMPLAIN ABOUT CALLS

We gathered eight Valley residents at the ABC15 studios who say their numbers are on the Do Not Call list.

But each say they've been repeatedly called by telemarketers representing Abode Air in Tempe.

Many say it happened for months and it happened despite their complaints to the FTC about it.

Some were called two to three times a day.

They each say being on the Do Not Call registry doesn't seem to make a difference.

Maxson says the FTC handles thousands of complaints a day and not all of them are violations.

FTC REGULATION DOESN'T COVER ALL CALLS

According to Maxson, the FTC can only go after businesses that make calls or send faxes state to state.

So any Arizona business that calls or faxes only Arizona consumers would not be regulated by the FTC, unless it involved an out of state call center.

The Arizona Attorney General would take action against in-state Do Not Call issues.

Recently, the Attorney General's office did go after Abode air for allegedly violating the Do Not Call registry.

Abode told us in July that they did not call numbers from the Do Not Call list.

Abode Air's phone numbers are now disconnected.

Hal says he continues to get unwanted calls and faxes.

But, he says he still supports the Do Not Call list and thinks others should as well.

He would like the FTC to better acknowledge complaints.

Otherwise, he says he feels like he's just whistling in the wind.

It's free to put your number on the Do Not Call Registry.

To file a complaint, contact the FTC and the FCC .

Let me know about anything you want investigated at jducey@abc15.com .

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