Wireless Robocallers Face Massive FCC Fines

Two companies could be fined up to $4.8 million

Two companies could be slapped with fines of up to $4.8 million for making robocalls to millions of wireless phones, the Federal Communications Commission said today, after issuing citations to Dialing Services and Richard Gilmore, who does business as Democratic Dialing.

Before the FCC can levy any fines, the companies must certify within 15 days that they have ceased making robocalls to wireless phones.

During the FCC's investigation, the agency found that Dialing Services and Democratic Dialing each made in excess of one million calls to wireless phones without consumer permission during 2011 and 2012. For each call, the FCC could impose a fine of $16,000. In these two cases the fines could add up to $4.8 million.

"Consumers have increasingly been sounding the alarm on robocalls, rightly complaining about unwanted, intrusive cell phone calls and text messages from strangers, or worse yet computers," said Michele Ellison, the FCC's enforcement chief.

Under communications law, wireless robocalls are prohibited unless for emergency purposes or with prior express consent of the consumer.

The Federal Trade Commission also has made investigating robocalls a high priority, going after companies that use the practice to scam consumers. In addition, the FTC operates the Do Not Call registry.