Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shut down telemarketers!

I recently wrote about the telemarketing laws that have changed. However, I realized I never mentioned the National Do Not Call registry.

A number of years back, a law was passed requiring most telemarketers to not call people if they asked not to be called. The problem is that I as a telemarketer could get your phone number and distribute your phone number to 100 other telemarketing companies. Even if you told my company to remove it, the other people still have your phone number.

The government stepped in and set up a free service - the National Do Not Call registry. You put your phone number in the system, and most telemarketers are required to not call you. If they do, you can report them and they face heavy fines. Most telemarketers will be required to stop calling you 31 days from your registration date, so if you put it in the system today, you should be safe by the end of next month at worst.

Of course, there are exceptions. First of all, any company that you have a business relationship with is exempt (though you can still ask them to remove you if they call). So, your phone company, cable company, etc. can do so. In addition, if you order from a Web site and give them your phone number, you may also be opening yourself to legal telemarketing calls.

Other exceptions include charities, political organizations (of course, because guess who passed the law - politicians!), and surveys that don't include any sales pitch.

The Federal Communications Commission does seem to pursue complaints. I was able to find a list with a hundred citations of companies that have been complained about and been fined as a result. The biggest so far was a Florida based company named Dynasty Mortgage, which got a warning and apparently kept calling people, leading to two sets of fines totaling around $1.5 million dollars.

No harm in signing up, because once again, it's free!

No comments: