America’s telecommunications watchdogs have levied hefty financial penalties against illegal robocallers, demanding that bad actors repay millions to their victims. But years later, little money has actually been collected, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Since 2015, the Federal Communications Commission has ordered violators of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a law governing telemarketing and robodialing, to pay $208.4 million. That sum includes so-called forfeiture orders in cases involving robocalling, Do Not Call Registry and telephone solicitation violations.
So far, the government has collected a paltry $6,790, according to records obtained by The Wall Street Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The total amount of money secured by the Federal Trade Commission through court judgments in cases involving civil penalties for robocalls or National Do Not Call Registry-related violations, plus the sum requested for consumer redress in fraud-related cases, is $1.5 billion since 2004. It has collected $121 million of that total, says Ian Barlow, coordinator of the agency’s Do Not Call program, or about 8%. The agency operates the National Do Not Call Registry and regulates telemarketing.
An FCC spokesman said his agency lacks the authority to enforce the forfeiture orders it issues and has passed all unpaid penalties to the Justice Department, which has the power to collect the fines, but many robocallers are unable to pay the full penalties. Read the full story.