How to Stop Telemarketing Calls for Good
You come home from work after a long day, sink into the tub for a moment
of reprieve and just as your muscles begin to relax ... the phone rings.
You dash out and grab it on the last ring only to be greeted by a telemarketer
who mispronounces your last name.
Surely most every American has had their bath, dinner, favorite movie
moment or (you fill in the blank) interrupted by a telemarketing call,
and if you're like most Americans it's an everyday occurrence.
Telemarketers make over 8 billion calls every year. If you're tired
of sales calls intruding on your home life make sure to add your
number to the National Do Not Call Registry.
While you may not give in to telemarketing sales pitches, many do. In
2002, the telemarketing industry brought in over $11 billion in revenue,
according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a huge profit by any standard,
but when you consider that it comes from only 3,245 U.S. telemarketing
bureaus it becomes clear just how massive an industry telemarketing calls
Every year, telemarketers make some 8 billion calls, which worked out
to about 100 per household in 2002. They do have some restrictions-Federal
law prohibits telephone solicitations before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., and
when they do call telemarketers must provide their name, the company for
which they work and a phone number.
As though sales calls aren't bad enough at home, complaints of telemarketers
targeting cell phones are increasing-and in this case it's not just a
waste of your time because you're the one paying for the air time. Though
federal law does prohibit telemarketing calls using an automated dialing
service to cell phones, it doesn't prohibit direct calls and many do get
If you want to dramatically reduce the number of telemarketing calls
you receive, there are several actions you can take.
1. The National Do Not Call Registry
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created a national registry of phone
numbers that are blocked from non-exempt telemarketers. Over 60 million
phone numbers have been added to the Do Not Call Registry since its launch.
The Registry is one of your best bets to reducing telemarketing calls:
92 percent of people who used the Registry said they are receiving "fewer
calls" and 78 percent said they're getting "far fewer calls"
or none at all, according to a Harris Interactive poll,
Tired of Telemarketers?
Add your number to the Federal Trade Commission's National Do
Not Call Registry.
Go online to www.DONOTCALL.gov
Call 1-888-382-1222 (you must call from the number you want
There are two ways to add your number to the list:
Online at www.DONOTCALL.gov
By calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the number you
want to register
Note: Certain telemarketers are exempt and may still call numbers
on the Registry. These include charities, politicians, telephone surveyors
and businesses that have a prior relationship with the person they're
calling (banks, airlines, phone-service providers, etc.). Businesses that
you've given permission to call are also exempt.
How to File Complaints
If your number has been on the Registry for at least three months and
you receive a call from a non-exempt telemarketer you can file a complaint
with the FTC. To do so visit www.DONOTCALL.gov
or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY1-866-290-4236) and have the date of the call
and the phone number or name of the company who called you ready.
Adding your telephone number to the National Do Not Call Registry
will dramatically reduce the number of telemarketing calls your
family receives. Finally your family can eat dinner in peace!
2. Ask Telemarketers to Take Your Name off Their List
When a telemarketer does call, ask them to remove your name and number
from their list. They are required to add your number to their own "do-not-call"
list and keep it there for 10 years. If your number has been on the Do
Not Call Registry for over three months and the company is not exempt,
you may also want to file a complaint (see above) with the FTC.
3. Keep Your Phone Number Unlisted
There is typically a monthly fee to keep your telephone number unlisted,
which means it won't be listed in the local telephone directory nor will
it be available through Directory Assitance (411) or telephone operators
This will cut back on the number of people and companies that have access
to your number, however, according to the Federal Communications Commission,
there are no laws against the collection of unlisted telephone numbers,
and in some cases unlisted numbers can still be obtained from a directory
assistance operator. They may also be sold to other organizations or people
with whom you have done business in the past.
In fact, industry experts say that one way marketers gain access to unlisted
numbers is from the customers giving out their numbers themselves, via
surveys, product registration cards and credit card applications. The
numbers are also gathered from public records like property data.
Here's what to say when telemarketers call you. Just follow
the script if you don't want any more junk calls:
Are you calling to sell something? or Is this a telemarketing
Could you tell me your full name please?
And a phone number, area code first?
What's the name of the organization you're calling for?
Does that organization keep a list of numbers it's been asked
not to call?
I would like my number (s) put on that list. Can you take care
of that now?
And does the company you work for also make telemarketing calls
for any other organizations? (If they answer no, skip the next
(If yes) Can you make sure your company won't call me for any
Is it clear that I never want telemarketing calls from anyone?
Will your company keep my number on its do-not-call list for
at least 10 years?
And does your company have a written policy that says that
Can you send me a copy of it?
What's your supervisor's first and last name?
What's your employer's business name, address and main telephone
Are you calling for a tax-exempt nonprofit organization?
Is this call based on a previously established business relationship?
You may need to ask to speak with a supervisor if they can't answer
your questions. Before hanging up, check that you have all their
answers written down, then say goodbye. Add the date and time to
your record. (Is it between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., when such calls are
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