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Valley business denies violating Do Not Call list

Posted at 7:22 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 07:09:24-04

An owner of a Valley business is defending her company after being accused of making millions of illegal telemarketing calls.

On Wednesday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a $37.5 million fine against Arizona based, Affordable Enterprises which is also affiliated with Affordable Windows, Affordable Kitchens and Affordable Bathrooms. The agency calls this its "first enforcement action" involving spoofed calls.

The company is accused of making 2.3 million "maliciously-spoofed telemarketing calls" during a 14-month span beginning in July 2016, according to a press release from the FCC. 

Owner Jessika Cabrera sat down with ABC15 Let Joe Know and said she is shocked by the allegations.

"Jeff (her business partner) and I have really gone out of our way to make sure that we're following all of the guidelines," she says.

Cabrera says the company did use third party software to dial consumers but did not knowingly spoof--or hide their phone numbers from caller ID.

"We were very clear from the beginning with the third party, that our names--we wanted our name on there. And if someone called it back, it comes straight to our office."

In its citation, the FCC says it was tipped off by a former employee that Affordable purchased a call directory which included phone numbers that were on the Do Not Call Registry.  

It goes on to say "the evidence suggests that Affordable knew, or willfully turned a blind eye to the fact, that some of the consumers it called were on the DNC Registry, and it disregarded those requests to not receive telemarketing calls."

Citing the former employee, the documents explain that "Affordable directed its employees to "hang up" on any complaining customer or to "apologize" but "avoid engaging in any conversation."

Cabrera denies intentionally calling phone numbers on the Do Not Call list and says if some slipped through, "immediately it's addressed with the third party company that provides us with that information."
And says that vendor was let go in October 2017 after seeing a spike in consumer complaints about calls to numbers on the registry.

She also disputes other things mentioned in the citation, beginning with the number of calls they are accused of making--2.3 million.

"With my staff and what we were doing every day, that number seems extraordinarily impossible," she says.

The citation also says the business is based in Tucson. Cabrera says it is located in Gilbert.

Cabrera says she thinks the whole thing is a mistake.

"We have a small business. It's not a huge operation. My gut intuition on this is that somebody is using my (company) name."

The company will have a chance to dispute the allegations with the FCC. We will let you know when it happens.