Those Pesky Robocalls

Every day American consumers report tens of thousands of illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission, and now the FTC is helping put that information to work boosting industry efforts to stop unwanted calls before they reach consumers.

Under a new initiative announced by the FTC, when consumers report Do Not Call or robocall violations to the agency, the robocaller phone numbers consumers provide will be released each day to telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are implementing call-blocking solutions.

Unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC’s number-one complaint category, with more than 1.9 million complaints filed in the first five months of 2017 alone. By reporting illegal robocalls, consumers help law enforcement efforts to stop the violators behind these calls. In addition, under the initiative announced today, the FTC is now taking steps to provide more data, more often to help power the industry solutions that block illegal calls.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they have received robocalls and what was their response to such illegal calls?
  • Let students debate the issue of whether robocalls should be outlawed.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is the consumer complaint data so crucial for the FTC to call-blocking solutions?
  2. How will the FTC attempt to stop unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers?

Consumer Action Handbook

How can a person contact an auto manufacturer with a concern about a motor vehicle? Where would a person file a complaint about deceptive investments? What state consumer protection agencies are available to help consumers in Missouri?

These, and many other, questions are answered in the Consumer Action Handbook, published by the U.S. General Services Administration. Updated each year, this free reference book offers consumer buying tips on everything from consumer credit and environmental-friendly products to travel and utilities along with extensive lists of contact information for major companies, trade associations, and federal, state, and local consumer agencies.

The Consumer Action Handbook may be accessed at::

online version – http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer/consumer-action-handbook-online.shtml

download version – http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer/consumer-action-handbook.pdf

order form for print copy – http://www.usa.gov/consumer-action-handbook/order-form.shtml

video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHhm5arq1RY

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students obtain a copy of the Consumer Action Handbook (print or PDF version) and have them select information about which they were not previously aware.
  • Have students talk to others to determine their main sources of consumer information when making a purchase or when having a consumer complaint.

Discussion Questions 

  1. Why do an extensive number of consumer problems occur in our society?
  2. Explain the actions a person might take when encountering a consumer complaint.
  3. In addition to the Consumer Action Handbook, what information sources might consumers use when planning a purchase or encountering a consumer problem?