There have been a lot of laws which were aimed to curb telemarketing calls. These range from allowable call windows to the “do not call” registry. However, there would still be instances when a call would come into your phone. Here are some things to remember when that happens.
1. Do Not Call Registry.
The National Do Not Call Registry is a list backed by a law which says that if you are listed in the registry, telemarketers are not allowed to give your number a call. To get listed the individual needs to call 1-888-382-1222 in the US. Alternatively, consumers can register themselves at the DoNotCall.gov registration page.
The Do Not Call registry does have some exceptions. Telemarketers and robocalls can still call your number under the following provisions:
- If your number is a business phone. Only residential numbers are included in the Do Not Call registry.
- If the caller is a political organization.
- If the caller is coming from a not-for-profit organization.
- If the caller is conducting surveys.
- You may still receive calls up to 31 days from the date of your application in the Do Not Call registry.
- Credit and collection companies can give you a call as long as these are within a reasonable calling hour.
When a telemarketer calls a number which is already listed in the Do Not Call registry, the consumer can inform the caller that they are already registered. They can also ask the caller to please add the number to their Do Not Call database. Although this is not the prescribed manner to get listed in the Do Not Call registry, it also works in preventing telemarketers from calling again.
2. Other Provisions
You do not need to have your cell phone number added to the registry. Cell phones are off limits to telemarketers, and they are not allowed to call them. Fax numbers are also not allowed to be called. If you receive a telemarketer on your cell phone, inform them that they reached your cell phone number and by the law, they are not allowed to call cell phones. Fax numbers are covered by a different law which also states that they cannot be called.
3. State Wide Call Windows
Each state has telemarketer call windows. Telemarketers can only call at a certain time of day or night. They cannot call after a certain hour of the night. You would have to consult with your local laws to know what the calling windows are. As a side note, Kentucky only allows two hours per day for telemarketers to call a number within the state. This has effectively prevented telemarketers from calling Kentucky numbers.
4. Filing a complaint
When a telemarketer calls a Do Not Call registered number, the owner can file a complaint with the FCC. The applicable rules are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Section 64.1200. The FCC has a complaint form for infractions of the Do Not Call registry law.
When filing a complaint, the consumer would need to include pertinent details including phone number called, the calling party, the goods or services being marketed, and whether the caller has an exemption status. The rules for filing a complaint are in the FCC form.
The Do Not Call registry is meant to protect the consumer from receiving unwanted solicitations and marketing calls. Initially, the consumer has to renew his application to the Do Not Call registry every five years. This has since been changed and now consumers no longer need to renew their listing.
There is also the problem of keeping the numbers updated. Residents move all the time, and this leaves phone numbers which are no longer in use or are used by a person different from the one who applied for the “Do Not Call” registry. It is the FCC’s job to remove numbers from the list if these are no longer valid, have been disconnected, reassigned, or if the person who uses it has requested that he not be included in the Do Not Call registry.
Adding a number to the “Do Not Call” registry is a voluntary action by the phone number’s assignee. It was registered in his name, and he is responsible for the phone number’s continued use. At the same time, cell phones are not supposed to be called by telemarketers. Unfortunately, the methods used by telemarketing firms to gather telephone numbers do not usually distinguish between regular telephone numbers and cell phone numbers.
There have been several instances where telemarketers have used the exceptions in their favor. There have been surveying campaigns where the caller would ask if you would be willing to receive a call about an offer. In this case, the survey is used as a foot in the door. The follow-up call may not even be with the survey company, but a separate organization altogether. This tactic has been flagged before which resulted in a restraining order.
In as much as the Do Not Call registry is a growing number of users, most times, it is hard to implement. When it comes to following up with companies which violate the Do Not Call registry, the Federal Trade Commission has been criticized for their inaction and slack enforcement.
For all the benefits of telemarketing, they have become part of the background noise, like junk mail and other marketing materials which are sent to you by mail. Telemarketers are still more effective than spam. At least the telemarketer has a chance of talking to a real person.Google+