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Skyy Consulting to pay $75,000 fee over robocalls

The Associated Press

Skyy Consulting Inc. has agreed to stop transmitting illegal robocalls to consumers and pay a $75,000 civil penalty as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The regulator said Tuesday that the California company, which does business as CallFire, helped clients in placing pre-recorded telemarketing calls to consumers without their written consent. These types of telemarketing robocalls have been illegal since Sept. 1, 2009.

The FTC claims that CallFire either knew, or consciously avoided knowing, that their clients were violating the telemarketing sales rule.

Some types of robocalls are legal, such as those about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations. But the rule prohibits companies from making such calls to consumers with a sales message if the consumer hasn't given written permission to get calls from the company on the other end.

Callfire, based in Santa Monica, Calif., provides voice-over-Internet "voice broadcasting" services. A voice broadcaster is a company that uses computers to broadcast pre-recorded messages to many recipients at one time.

A representative for CallFire could not be reached immediately for comment.

Under the settlement, CallFire must review all pre-recorded messages it delivers and terminate its contracts with any clients who are delivering illegal pre-recorded telemarketing calls. In addition, the company must review all existing pre-recorded messages hosted on its platform within the next 120 days to make sure those messages meet legal requirements under the telemarketing sales rule.

The agreement has been submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for approval.