Who hasn’t had a quiet family dinner interrupted by a telemarketer offering you a new product or service (or my favorite: just trying to save you money on your <insert service here>)? It was long thought the birth of the National Do Not Call Registry would be the instant death of telemarketing, but the practice continues on as strong as ever.
So what can be done to stop them? Turns out there are various techniques to help slow the call volume and create peace in your home; it just requires knowing where to go and how to make the system work for you!
The Do Not Call Registry:
Although not bulletproof, it is a first stop measure for anybody looking to reduce the incoming call volume. The registry allows one to register their phone numbers either online at https://www.donotcall.gov/ or by dialing 888-382-1222 (note that you must call this number from each phone you wish to register to make sure every number makes it).
Once you register a number to the registry, telemarketers have up to 31 days to cease calls. Should you continue receiving calls after registering your number you can file a complaint at the website above. Note that there are exceptions to the rule, exceptions include:
- Political groups, charities, and individuals conducting surveys.
- Calls from companies you have an existing business relationship with. They may continue to call up to 18 months after you buy something from them or up to three months after you inquire about something or apply for something.
- Companies you’ve given permission to call you.
Internal Do Not Call Lists:
Businesses are required to maintain their own do not call lists. Any company you wish to cease calling you must cease doing so and are required to keep your number on file as a ‘do not call’ for at least five years. After the five years is up the request must be made again, and this is not as effective as the first option as you must reiterate the request for each company whom you wish to stop contacting you.
This means that if you do get a telemarketer call, all you have to do is state clearly that you do not wish to be contacted again, and they are legally bound to add you to their internal do not call list. But as with the above, remember that they have up to 31 days to comply and may still contact you for billing, including debt collectors. Non-profit organizations do not have to maintain do not call lists so keep that in mind if the telemarketer is soliciting donations.
If you don’t recognize the number then simply don’t answer. Telemarketers are required to have their phone numbers visible on caller IDs, and where available also display the name of the company. Note that simply ignoring the call is not a guaranteed way to stop the calls, and you may continue to receive calls from that phone number.
If you believe the company to be legitimate, your best bet is to pick up the phone anyway and ask to be added to their internal do not call register. If you suspect it to be a scam, go direct to filing a complaint.
If all else fails, after filing your complaint with the FTC you can have your provider block the number all together. Since telemarketers are required to display their phone number anyway, you will have an opportunity to learn their number with every call, and at that point it is simply a question of requesting the number be blocked.
However, keep in mind that this should be an option of last resort as many providers limit the number of calls you can block, and if multiple telemarketers have your number this won’t stop all of them. Consult with your provider for specific instructions on how to go about blocking calls from specific phone numbers.
There is no doubt that telemarketers are annoying, and of course we know that at the end of the day they are only doing their job. By taking certain measures such as those listed above you can keep those calls from coming in in the future, or worse: getting a call at a bad time and snapping at whoever is on the other end of the line. Most of these measures aren’t simply good tips: some of them make it illegal to contact you.
If you find yourself plagued by salesmen promising great discounts on services you have no interest in, and you are already registered on the national do not call registry (and have been for more than a month), you can file complaint with both the FCC and the FTC who will make every effort to stop the harassment and help restore peace to your home.
Federal Communication’s Commission
Federal Trade Commission
This article was written by Brennen Kliffmueller. Brennen is an expert at dodging telemarketers and believes every should have the same power. He is also a professional writer for Scott D. Owens, FDCPA Lawyer. To learn more about Brennen, feel free to visit his Google+.