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Ringless Voicemail, the Wrong Call for Consumers?

WHAT’S UP

If you’ve ever been the victim of phantom vibrations, you know it’s a horrifying experience. But here’s something that may be even more sinister if placed in the hands of a deceptive telemarketer: ringless voicemail. Ringless voicemail technology allows telemarketers, political parties, and financial institutions to pump out hundreds of automated messages at a time straight into the voicemail boxes of consumers’ cellphones without the devices ever ringing. Consumers can’t block the calls because technically they’re not calls. Or at least that’s the position a ringless voicemail provider is taking in an attempt to skirt a federal law that prohibits telemarketers from sending robocalls without first obtaining consent from consumers.

HOW WE GOT HERE

In a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that aims to expose a loophole in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, All About the Message argues that the consumer protection law “does not impose liability for voicemail messages” when they’re delivered directly to voicemail. To prove its point that its ringless voicemails are not calls and thus exempted from the law, All About the Message makes the bold claim that its messages are actually less intrusive than robocalls that ring: “The act of depositing a voicemail on a voicemail service without dialing a consumers’ cellular telephone line does not result in the kind of disruptions to a consumer’s life — dead air calls, calls interrupting consumers at inconvenient times or delivery charges to consumers — which the TCPA was designed to prevent.”

THE MARKETING PITCH IN QUESTION

If the FCC sides with the ringless voicemail provider, it won’t be just one marketing pitch — it’ll be a flood of them or, as a consumer lawyer recently put it to the New York Times, a “free-for-all.” And exemption would open the door to marketers of all stripes — not just the honest ones — to leave any number of pitches on consumers’ voicemails unabated. Even consumers on the “Do Not Call” list could be targeted. (Just this week, Dish Network was ordered to pay a record $280 million civil penalty for making tens of millions of calls to people on the Do Not Call Registry.)

WHAT’S NEXT

While the Republican National Committee, the GOP’s leading campaign and fundraising arm, has thrown its support behind the petition, framing it as a First Amendment issue, attorneys general from New York, Massachusetts and Kentucky oppose it. “Ringless voicemail is likely to be more intrusive, not less, because it can bypass some of the most common call blocking applications … which can protect consumers from scams and unlawful calls,” the AGs wrote in a letter to the FCC.
Find more of our coverage on telemarketing here.

Courtesy: TruthInAdvertising.org (https://www.truthinadvertising.org/tinas-take-ringless-voicemail-wrong-call-consumers/)

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ED attaches Rs 207 cr assets of Samruddha group
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs 207 crore of Samruddha Jeevan Foods India Limited (SJFIL) group which siphoned off Rs 3,500 crore from over 20 lakh people across India through its ponzi schemes, an official said on Monday.
 
The agency attached immovable properties worth Rs 203.55 crore and movable property (helicopter) valued at Rs 3.43 crore of the Pune-based firm under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 
 
These properties were purchased in the name of the main company SJFIL and many of its associated companies like Prosperity Agro India Ltd, Samruddha Jeevan Multistate Multipurpose Society Ltd, Samruddha Jeevan Constructions Pvt Ltd, Jeevan Jyoti Construction Pvt Ltd, Samruddha Jeevan Orchard Resort Pvt Ltd, Samruddha Jeevan Hotels and Hospitality Pvt Ltd. 
 
"We attached assets worth Rs 207 crore of SJFIL, its group companies, its promoter and Chief Managing Director Mahesh Kisan Motewar and his family members," an ED official said. 
 
Motewar allegedly generated funds under several ponzi schemes and the money was laundered for the expansion of other businesses like construction, media, hospitality, software and for personal comforts, he said.
 
The official said Motewar, his two wives and others engaged in criminal conspiracy and cheated more than 20 lakh small investors across India by attracting them through their live stock business schemes like rearing, sale and purchase of live stocks. 
 
"The accused lured people through their firms to invest money by falsely promising unreasonably high returns and generated funds more than 3,500 crore. They obtained huge money as deposits from investors which was neither refunded nor was there any interest or assured returns."
 
"Thus the entire activity of rearing, sale and purchase of livestock and other business activity was nothing but a smokescreen to collect huge funds from lakhs of investors, mainly in cash," the official said. 
 
The official said Motewar involved many of his family members, relatives and office staff for carrying out this illegal collection and laundering through a web of 34 companies.
 
The collected deposits or investments under the ponzi schemes were laundered to various group companies, said the official, adding the funds were used to acquire immovable properties ranging from plots or lands, commercial complex, hotels, resorts, flats, bungalows and movable properties. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Administrator appointed for Sahara India Life Insurance
In a first order of its kind order, India's insurance regulator on Monday appointed an administrator to manage the affairs of private life insurer Sahara India Life Insurance Company Ltd.
 
As per the order issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India's Chairman T.S. Vijayan, R.K.Sharma, a General Manager in the IRDAI has been appointed as Administrator for Sahara India Life Insurance with immediate effect.
 
The IRDAI said it exercised the power under Section 52A of the Insurance Act.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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