430 Indiana residents that allegedly found themselves on the bad end of some business calls from a Missouri air duct cleaning business may be seeing some relief soon, as Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed suit against the company, saying that the company called several individuals who were on Indiana's Do Not Call list.
The Missouri based company, reportedly doing business as Air Duct Cleaning and headed by Noach Palatnik, was said to have started making calls to Indiana residents in April, offering a duct cleaning service for $59.95, as well as free dryer vent and furnace inspections. The issue here is not the deal itself, but rather that, for the most part, robo-calling is illegal in the state of Indiana. It doesn't particularly matter the individuals targeted for calls are or are not on the Do Not Call list, but rather that the calls happened in the first place.
There are some exemptions, as is commonly the case with many laws, including exemptions provided for businesses that use robo-calling systems to advise employees of work schedules or from school districts calling on school business. Live phone operators can also be used in tandem with robo-calling systems, where the live operator gets permission to play an automated message. Palatnik, meanwhile, allegedly fit none of these exemptions, nor did it use live operators to get permission in advance, so the Attorney General filed suit. The Attorney General's suit is seeking civil penalties, attorney fees and a “permanent injunction against future Do Not Call violations.”
Attorney General Zoeller, meanwhile, offered up some remarks on the case itself: “My office is working hard to identify ways to better trace illegal calls and prosecute violators. This lawsuit is part of that effort and we will continue to use the resources available to protect Indiana’s consumers from unwanted calls.”
Indeed, unwanted calls are the worst kind of calls, both for the consumer and for the business. Some businesses don't consider this, but likely should; placing an unwanted promotional call to a potential customer is a pretty good way to sour that customer's perception, and disincline that customer to work with the company that placed said calls in the future. That's a waste of valuable marketing for businesses, and a waste of time for the customer as well.
The proper use of robo-calling systems, with the use of predictive dialer methods and the like, can go a long way in giving businesses a way to put out the word about products and services while allowing actual humans to engage in other tasks. But that use needs to be proper—not to mention in accordance with applicable laws—in order to have the fullest effect. That's just what we're seeing in this case, and should provide an excellent object lesson for those looking to use such technologies in current operations.
Edited by Blaise McNamee