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Government Logic

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

I don't care if you are a Republican, Democrat or whatever. I think you will agree with me that sometimes the function of our government just seems to defy explanation, reason or logic.

Perhaps those are the key words…reason and logic applied in the same context as 'government'.

Now, here's one for you. Last year I received an unsolicited fax notice from a group that I am not fond of for any reason. I have no idea how they came to have my name and fax number, but in any case they did and sent me several notices announcing an upcoming political rally and asking me to attend. Aside from the fact that I had no intention of going, the notices sent to me via fax were against the Federal Communications Commission rules and are subject to fines being levied against those responsible.

Like the good little trooper that I am, I logged onto the FCC's web site, looked up the proper complaint form and sent it off to them along with samples of the faxes I had received.

No answer. I sent it again.
No answer, I sent it again.
No answer, I sent it again.
No answer, I sent it again.
No answer, I sent it again.

As you can see, I am persistent. I sent it to them five times, along with a letter to my congressman asking why I could not receive an answer for something as simple as this seemed to be.

Perhaps the key word for my mistake is 'simple'.

Yesterday I received an answer in a form letter and I defy anyone to explain just what it says or means.

Here are some examples of my confusion:

"Although the FCC does not adjudicate individual complaints from consumers of this type." --- doesn't that mean they don't pay any attention to a complaint? Why have a web site with a complaint form on it, if they don't look at these?

"We do closely monitor such complaints to determine whether any action is warranted." ---I thought they just said they didn't look at these?

"The FCC has issued numerous warning citations…and has levied fines of up to $11,000." ---based on what…if they don't look at complaints sent in by consumers?

"The FCC does not resolve individual complaints of this type…"---Then what do they resolve? Again I ask why they bother to put a individual complaint form on their website if it isn't going to be of any use.

"But consumers should still report violations of the telemarketing rules…." ---Why would anyone want to do this when it isn't going to be of any use?

"The FCC encourages consumers who have received such calls or faxes to file complaints with the FCC." ---didn't they just say they don't accept complaints from individuals?

"In addition, you may wish to note that, under the TCPA, consumers may bring a private lawsuit in state court to recover damages." ---Who would want to hire and pay for an lawyer to sue someone over a unwanted fax?

Perhaps I'm just getting too old to understand some things and this is one of them. This letter is signed by someone who is the acting chief of the 'consumer inquires and complaints division.' He lists several phone numbers, but good luck on trying to get some live human on the phone to help you decipher the meaning of this mysterious letter.

So, in this case the bottom line is that we have a federal agency that has employees, getting paid with generous benefits, but giving out completely useless information concerning their lack of enforcement abilities for a specific governmental violation. They end up telling me that I am free to file a suit in state court to recover any damages, but as we all know this is impractical and a waste of both time and money. So, why have the agency at all when they just send vague letters telling you absolutely nothing and offering no relief of any kind?

I realize this might be a trivial matter, but it just makes one wonder how many other agencies and departments there are out there who do the same thing, day after day.

Letter in, and letter out. Day over.

I need a vacation.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

July 13, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com

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