SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com
If your phone is ringing off the hook from
telemarketers, you're not alone. The Federal Trade Commission receives
as many as 200,000 complaints per month from consumers who are tired
of receiving "robocalls" from businesses. There are steps you can take
to give telemarketers the boot. Here's how to keep overeager
businesses off of your phone line.
Know the Rules
Even if you've signed up for the National
Do Not Call Registry, there are still exemptions that allow
certain organizations to call you anyway. According to the Federal
Communication Commission, the national registry:
only covers personal and home phone lines—business lines don't count
doesn't include marketing calls from
nonprofit organizations, including political campaigns.
allows companies you've done or inquired
about doing business with to contact you for up to three months
after your last inquiry or 18 months after your last transaction.
This is called the EBR exemption.
"A lot of consumers don't realize when they are
applying for a loan or they're putting their information on a website
or entering a sweepstakes [that], if they don't read carefully what
they're signing, they may have given written permission for certain
companies to call them," says Eric Allen, an attorney with Allen Legal
Services in Salt Lake City who specializes in telemarketing compliance
and litigation. "That consent is indefinite until they opt out or make
a do not call request directly with the company."
Two more important telemarketing rules: The federal
government prohibits marketing calls to be made before 8 a.m. or after
9 p.m. and requires marketers to identify the organization they're
calling from and state, whether it's a sales or fundraising call.
Step 1: Sign
up for the National Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov.
Step 2: Ask
any companies that are calling to stop. If a company is continually
calling you, simply ask to be placed on their internal do not call
list, says Donna Reed, a Do Not Call Specialist with Oklahoma Attorney
General's Public Protection Unit.
A handful of states also maintain their own state
registries which can be helpful to those who need swift action against
aggressive local marketing companies.
Step 3: Reed
advises consumers to carefully screen calls. "If they will watch their
caller ID and only answer if it's a number they recognize as someone
they know, then eventually these calls will drop drastically," she
says. "The more [you] answer, the more calls [you're] going to
If you still receive calls 30 days after making that
request, file a complaint with your local attorney general's office or
consumer protection bureau, as well as with theFederal
Trade Commission, the Federal
Communications Commission, and