Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hollywood To Unleash Annoying 'Robo-Call' Program In Effort To Combat Roadside Bandit Signs Peddling Foreclosure Scams, Real Estate, Junk Cars, Etc.

In Hollywood, Florida, The Miami Herald reports:

  • You see them everywhere — those unsightly and illegal signs advertising companies looking to buy homes or rescue someone from foreclosure that clutter public right-of-ways. Most of them give phone numbers, telling people to call.

  • And Now Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober is on a mission to give them what they want — calls, lots of ’em. This week, the city started using a robo-call system to plug in the numbers advertised on signs. The robo-calls will dial the number over and over again, until the company pays a fine for putting the signs up.

  • The first offense is $75, the second is $150, the third is $250 and then if there are additional offenses the business must appear in front of a magistrate. “I think this is an opportunity to beat these entrepreneurs at their own game,” Bober said, saying offenders can receive as many as 20 calls a day. “They wanted calls, now they are going to get them.”

  • Bober began his mission two years ago with a contest meant to remove the signs. He promised the person who removed the most illegal signs and brought them into City Hall would receive $500. Now, he’s urging residents to participate in the calling campaign.

  • When you see snipe-signs littering the city, I want you to call the number and tell the nice person who answers to stop littering public rights-of-way and remove their ridiculous, plastic, snipe signs,” he wrote in the city newsletter New Horizons.

  • Snipe signs are any type of makeshift sign advertising anything from junk cars to real estate to education courses. Although they pop up everywhere, there is a forest of them in the medians and along the sidewalks of main thoroughfares such as Dixie Highway and State Road 441.

  • Hollywood Police Maj. Joseph Healey said the signs — which are prohibited by city code — have been a drain on the code enforcement department, with the nearly dozen officers starting everyday with removing the eyesores.

For the story, see ‘Robo-calls’ are Hollywood’s weapon against illegal signs (Companies that advertise with signs stuck in the median may soon be getting more calls than they can handle).

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