Sadly, laws are only as good as their enforcement. Without enforcement, laws will be ignored by a lawless segment of society, which includes a percentage of telemarketers and so-called "boiler room" operations.
According to a recent Associated Press account, the federal government has seen a sharp increase in the number of complaints by those on the government's do-not-call registry of unwanted telephone solicitations. The complaints range from annoying prerecorded solicitations known as robocalls that attempt to deceive and pressure the call receiver for lower credit card rates, new windows, new siding, security alarms, diabetes supplies, etc.
For more than a decade the do-not-call registry has been in place to stop such unwanted and unneeded infringement upon those who do not want to be bothered. More than 200 million telephone numbers are listed on the registry, which telemarketers are supposed to check at least every 31 days for numbers they legally cannot call.
But, what legally should be done and what is done obviously are two different things judging from the robocall complaints that have climbed from about 65,000 in October 2010 to more than 212,000 in April 2012 and during the same time period the number of general complaints asking telemarketers to quit calling has jumped from 71,000 to 182,000.
And fewer telemarketers are following the law in checking the list, judging by more than 65,000 such checks in 2007 being down to 34,000 last year.
What drives me to absolutely distraction is getting the blasted telemarketing calls on my cellphone, which means I actually have to use my paid minutes to learn its a blasted telemarketing robocall and then end the call. And, the worst part is there is no easy way to block the telemarketer calls on a cellphone.
Yes, a telemarketer recently was fined what the average person would consider a large sum, but the fine was little more than a cost of doing business compared to the revenue generated by the telemarketer, and was only one of hundreds of telemarketers abusing the do-not-call registry.
So what can we do about it? Darn little except keep complaining to our elected representatives and encourage them to mandate stronger enforcement of the existing laws. After all, this isn't a question of such calls being illegal, it's a question of enforcing those laws and punishing the violators to the extent it's not economically feasible to continue illegally contacting people on the do-not-call list.
The West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles again is demonstrating its incompetence by leaving Mid-Ohio Valley residents without service for a week-and-a-half as it moves for the third time to a new location in Parkersburg.
The DMV announced Sept. 19 that its office at National College in Park Shopping Center would close Sept. 21 and its new facility at 627 Lubeck Ave, on the south side would open Oct. 3.
Over that eight-day period if Parkersburg-area motorists needed to do business with the DMV, too bad, they could drive to Spencer or other far-away sites.
The entire 18-month disaster surrounding the DMV office in Parkersburg is an embarrassment, an insult to Parkersburg-area motorists and just adds to my belief the DMV never will get better until Commissioner Joe Miller is replaced.
Contact Jim Smith at email@example.com