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Sun of a gun: a solar energy “Do Not Call” violator is brought to justice

As practically everyone with a phone knows, a veritable plague of automated telemarketing calls has spread across the land.

As practically every American with a phone knows, a veritable plague of automated telemarketing calls has spread across the land.

You ought to be able to vaccinate yourself against such calls by joining the official US “Do Not Call” list. But, that doesn’t always work.

Today, however, we can report a small win for the good guys. US authorities have filed a civil complaint against Go Green Education, Sunlight Solar Leads LLC, KFJ Marketing, and these firms’ owner, Francisco Salvat.

According to the US Department of Justice complaint, Salvat’s companies made more than 1.3 million calls to people on the Do Not Call list, and hid their tracks by failing to transmit accurate caller ID information (a.k.a. “spoofing”).

Since US law specifies a maximum $16,000 fine for every violation, Salvat could theoretically be on the hook for a whopping $20.8 billion, although it’s unlikely that it reach that high.

The feds allege that Salvat’s pre-recorded “robocall” messages warned consumers that their energy bills were about to increase by 14%. The robocallers would then invite consumers to “‘press one’ to lower your electric bill.”

If you took the bait, an actual human would coax you into scheduling a solar installation with yet another company.

One thing Salvat’s humans evidently wouldn’t do for you, even if you asked pretty please with sugar on top: help you escape their doggone call list.

Of late, Americans have been hammered with a blizzard of automated and live calls from questionable operators promoting rooftop solar.

About a year ago, Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge exposed the relentless barrage of unwanted calls being made by the “National Renewable Energy Center,” which he described as “a cold-calling, law-bending, solar energy huckster.”

Three thousand miles east, in Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reported on hard-sell telemarketing from “Solar Panels USA.” – one consumer claimed he’d received more than 200 calls from that firm in 18 months.

In 2013, a company with a similar name to one of Salvat’s firms plaintively blogged: “it’s not us.” And way back in October 2012, Consumer Reports was already citing solar as one of the nation’s most common frauds.

We’re all for solar, but please: don’t get burned. Don’t “press one.” Don’t respond to the unsolicited hard sell, whether from robot or human. If you’re in the US, do consider filing a complaint here.

While the US Federal Trade Commission probably hears a lot of telemarketing complaints, Salvat’s case demonstrates that it’s not a total lost cause.

And if you decide to try the strategy we told you about last month… well, who are we to judge?

Image of cutting phone cord courtesy of


Your phone is backwards.


You might be dyslexic. Dialing does go clockwise.


Strictly speaking, the dialling actually happens when the dial goes *anti-clockwise* :-) Rotating the dial clockwise (to the right) actually just winds up the spring and sets the distance the dial will travel and the number of pulses that will be generated *on the return trip*, where the speed of rotation is governed to regulate the frequency of the pulses…


sigh, lol the person dials to the right, the phone does a lot of stuff. As a kid we used to pull the generators out of the big wall phones to play with (not in use), hell of a zap those made with just a half crank :) (turn the crank to make power to ring the operator, so she could connect you)
Me: the sky is blue, Paul: no it’s a reflection of the ocean, Me: sigh,,,


The dialling pulses really do happen while the dial is rotating anti-clockwise, when the dial is rotating at a controlled speed. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to let go of the dial to register the last digit in a number, would you :-)

You could speed up dialling by “helping” the dial backwards by sort-of reverse dialling so it went faster than usual. If you overdid it, the pulses would be wrongly spaced and you’d mis-dial…but a practised telesales person could save a lot of dialling time by “speed dialling” that way.

The colour of the sky is a bit of a blue herring here…


I will add higher detail to appease, the human action is to dial to the right, therefor we can see the phone is accurately portrayed in the image and not reversed. Did you ever dial by tapping the buttons the hand held portion sits on?


Yes. One tap plus the number of taps you want to dial (where 0 counts as 10). It’s hard to get right but it’s a good party trick for short numbers, especially ones with small digits, like the UK speaking clock (123). Some phones back in the day actually had a “flash on hook” button which simulated tapping the receiver down, without the risk of terminating the call by mistake.


the phone aint backwards, your head’s on upside down though jr. you aint from around these parts, now are you son? that’s a perfectly normal rotary dial phone. at least the base is, the head set can be set either way. very simple device from simpler times, not like all this digital stuff that needs batteries and charge ups constantly, a simple 24 volts applied with only 2 wires needed and you could talk around the world.


No, it is not. You can tell by the dial. You are looking, no doubt, at the handset cord. But that means nothing since the handset can be placed on the base however you please.


I have an answering machine for my landline, which does a good job of warding off telemarketers. But the other day I was expecting a call and answered before the machine. It was “Emily from Microsoft tech support.” I told Emily that I was a network administrator and probably didn’t need her help [presumably to put some malware on my computer so I would have to pay her to remove it?].


That’s the ticket: answer NO calls from numbers you don’t recognize. The ol’ answering machine is good at running the robocallers off; they NEVER leave a message.


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