Few people appreciate it when a telemarketer calls, but are often at a loss as to how to stop these unwanted calls. It’s easier than one might think with the National Do No Call Registry, but there is some confusion as to how this works and what the exceptions are. This quick guide will give you the information you need to stop unsolicited calls permanently.
Congress has taken positive steps to help protect consumers against unwanted calls. In 1991 the Telephone Consumer Protect Act was enacted. This was designed to restrict the three facets of telemarketing that are most annoying: making unsolicited calls, using automated autodialing systems, and using prerecorded voice messaging systems. In 1992 the original legislation added requirements that telemarketing companies had to possess procedures for maintaining company-specific do not call lists.
It 2003 the FCC in coordination with the FTC also created the National Registry to protect the privacy of citizens as they relate to telemarketers except for certain nonprofit organizations. At this time inter-state as well as intra-state agencies were also added. They also further restricted the use of autodialing systems and required that caller ID be visible to consumers. A person can either enter online or call the registry itself to be added to the list and can expect calls to stop within 30 days.
With the “do not call” program rumors abound and it’s often best if the myths are separated from the truth in order to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to add your numbers. The first thing is that this registry does not have an expiration date at this time. Although originally designed with a five year limit, this was extended in 2003 until such time as other action is taken by Congress. However, you can opt out should your number ever change.
Registering is free which has led to a scam in which individuals call and say they can have you added for a fee. Don’t get fooled by these offers. Although cell phone solicitation has always been illegal, you are allowed to sign up on the registry if you want to, but it’s not necessary. However, since it doesn’t hurt to be on the list and there’s only one list, there’s no reason why not to take a proactive stance and sign up anyway.
It’s also important to note that you may sign up on the registry at any time. In other words, there is no deadline and the government, but the number of lines added to the list is limited to three. Although the registry is designed to stop unwanted telemarketing calls, there are some that are allowed and others that get through anyway. For example, charities, surveys, and political organizations are allowed as well as calls from businesses you have worked with in the past. However, for this latter group written permission to call must be on file in order to meet the letter of the law and can be opted out whenever desired.
For those telemarketers who call anyway, an individual can be compensated $500 per violation. In some states courts take this so seriously that they will award up to three times the amount requested. Of course, this requires some work on your part such as filing a right of privacy avadavat with the courts along with filing a claim through the small claims court. Fraud and scams, of course, need to be reported to the FCC, FTC, Better Business Bureau, and FBI. These agencies are dedicated to making sure telemarketers follow the letter of the law. The Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission. If you feel like you’re being harassed by these kinds of calls or in of fear of identity theft, register you phones. You can always opt out at a later date.