Ever just want to relax, but the phone keeps ringing with people trying to hawk their wares? Most people think telemarketers should just go away. But as long as people keep buying, they’ll keep calling. Plus, the worst telemarketers take advantage of the unsuspecting – especially the elderly – luring them into spending money for things they’ll never need or vacations they’ll never take.
So how can you tell those telemarketers you’re not interested in what they have to sell – and that you never will be? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have launched the National Do Not Call Registry that, once you sign up, promises to eliminate many of the telemarketing calls you’re currently answering.
It covers telemarketing calls made both within your state, and those that cross state lines. Unlike earlier versions of the federal do-not-call registry, the only exceptions now are for non-profit organizations (like charities, and even politicians!) companies you’ve done business with (during an 18 month grace period) or made an inquiry to (within a 3 month grace period), and even then you can still ask to be put on their private do-not-call list.
And if you’ve ever picked up the phone because the Caller ID was restricted and you thought it was a friend, only to hear a sales pitch, then you’ll like the new rules even more. When they take effect on October 1, telemarketers will have to send your phone their Caller ID information, and if possible, their name. No more misleading “Number Not Available” messages.
So what do you do? The most important thing is to sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s free, and you can do it for all your home telephone lines – even your wireless phone.
The next thing to do is see if your state has its own Do-Not-Call registry. So far, 40 states have passed laws creating some form of a Do-Not-Call registry. Many states will be sharing their state’s data with the FTC if you’ve already signed up – but some, like Tennessee, won’t. So while you’re at it, go ahead and sign up for the state list too. Some of the state laws are stronger than the federal government’s new rules, so it pays to have your numbers on both lists if possible. Be careful, though. Some states, like Texas, Florida and Oregon, charge to get your number on their list. The extra cost, around $5 per line per year, might not be worth it for the few (if any) calls it might prevent.
The bottom line is you should sign up for the federal registry and your state’s registry if it’s free or worth the money.
And come October 1, you can relax and enjoy what you aren’t hearing – the silence that comes from a phone that only rings with the calls you want to answer.