With robocalls rising, Schumer pushes for tougher enforcement

Feb 5, 2014

Despite the national "do not call" list, the number of telemarketer violations has tripled in New York state.

Sen. Charles Schumer says that likely has to do with companies using computer-generated robocalls to target households.

Schumer has introduced a new bill, called the QUIET Act, that he says will strengthen penalties against companies that violate the rules. He says new technology is allowing robocallers to skirt the current laws.

"The robocall industry is blatantly ignoring federal laws, so we have to fight fire with fire," Schumer said.

His QUIET Act calls for higher penalties, jail time, and better technology to fight telemarketers who ignore the do not call list.

Right now, calling a number on the list is a $1,500 fine. Schumer wants to raise it to $20,000.

The creation of a national do not call list saw telemarketing drop off, but Schumer says better technology is reversing the trend and the current penalty isn't enough of a deterrent.

"Because they think the existing penalty is small peanuts compared to the money they’ll make scamming our grandmother’s pensions," he said. "With new deterrents in place, we’ll see a decrease in robocalls and go back to the peace and quiet we had several years ago."

His bill would also make violating the new restrictions a felony.

There were 131,491 complaints of robocalls from residents on "do not call" lists last year, according to Schumer's office, up from 40,639 complaints in 2010.