Judge weighs $1 trillion fine that could destroy telemarketing — and finally end nuisance calls
Three telemarketers face a massive $1 trillion fine for making 117 million illegal calls (Shutterstock)

A potentially massive fine levied against three telemarketing companies could finally force others in the industry to comply with federal rules — and stop nuisance calls.

Local news station KSL.com reports that the three companies -- Feature Films for Families, Corporations for Character and Family Films of Utah -- made more than 117 million illegal calls to consumers who had signed up with the "Do Not Call" registry. If the court assigns the regular fine amount for all of the 117 million illegal calls, the firms could end up paying over $1 trillion.

It goes without saying that the companies would not be able to afford such high fines and would be financially ground into dust by such a verdict, although the companies are still waiting for the judge's decision on whether the full fines will be enforced. Eric Allen, an attorney for the law firm that is representing the companies, said a $1 trillion fine could have a chilling effect on other telemarketers.

"This will be probably a catastrophic event for these companies," he told KSL.com. "I think we all have to take a hard look at this case and say, 'Look, we need to invest more carefully on the front end on compliance. We need to spend more money, more time, hire more staff — whatever it takes to make sure we are not violating the law.'"

It's hard to imagine consumers in Utah who were hounded by over 100 million calls from these companies over the years are feeling much sympathy for them, however.