FORT MYERS, Fla. - If you hate those annoying, unsolicited phone calls, then you're in luck. Because the state of Florida takes your complaints seriously.
Aside from the national Do Not Call Registry, which you're likely familiar with, the state of Florida has its own Do Not Call List.
The national Do Not Call Registry is dealing with businesses all over the country. If you have a business in Florida that is calling you and they shouldn't, and you call and complain, they're not gonna look into it after one or two complaints, and we will," explains Erin Gillespie with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Calling people on the Do Not Call list can be expensive. Just ask Service Star Enterprises, that company has been fined by the state three times.
First, let's remind you of the company we're speaking about. Service Star Enterprises, Inc. is a Fort Myers-based air-conditioning company. In May, WINK News Call For Action, showed you the laundry list of complaints that has the company in hot water with customers, the Better Business Bureau and local governments.
Now we've found new complaints.
From April 2012 to October 2012, the DACS received 16 complaints about Service Star Inc. violating the state's Do Not Call list. The company paid the $500 fine and agree to immediately cease operations as a telemarketer.
But that's because the owners of Service Star Inc. had already dissolved the business and opened up under a new name: Service Star Enterprises, Inc. And they kept calling.
Just three months later, the new Service Star is fined again. This time $750 based on five more complaints. They paid that fine and according to the state, Service Star kept making phone calls. On June 5th, Service Star was fined again, for the third time, this time for a whopping six thousand dollars.
In a handwritten response we obtained, a company official says "the fine is too high."
She writes, "I will go out of business."
She later explains, "if and when we come across someone on the DNC list, we never call them again."
When I called Service Star, a company representative told me they adhere to the Do Not Call List, but from time to time mistakes may happen.
But as we poured through dozens of complaints, we found some interesting ones. One person writes, "we are on the Do Not Call list, yet this company keeps calling." Another says, "I have never done business with these people before yet they keep calling me after I has (asked) them to stop."
In all, WINK News Call For Action obtained 17 complaints to the DACS from this year alone. Along with another 34 from last year.
"If we get a couple of complaints about a business calling when they're not supposed to be, we first send them a letter to remind them of what the law is," Gillespie said.
Service Star is now facing an expensive reminder, but the company is hoping the state will have a change of heart. The company writes "please be fair."
This case serves as a good example of what the state's Do Not Call List can do for you. The DACS has fined Service Star three times because the complaints keep piling up.
If you want to stop telemarketers from blowing up your phone, sign up for the state's list, even if you are signed up for the national list. Put all of your phone numbers on the list, which is free.
You can sign up online at www.fldnc.com or by calling 800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
Once you're signed up, if you receive a call from a telemarketer, file a complaint either by phone or online.