For many people, experiencing a telemarketer’s call at work or at home is frustration personified. A baby screaming for milk; an elderly person tripping as they reach for the phone; or an important business call interrupted by a sales pitch from a telemarketer now has reached a level of zero tolerance for many people. Don’t you wish you could just say, “Do not call!”?
Front Line Consumer Help: The “Do Not Call” Registries
Basically, this federal and state collaboration gives consumers a choice as to whether to receive telemarketing calls or not while at home or at work. Since many people today work from a home-based environment, this regulation now serves a double purpose.
However, while not a perfect solution as not everyone respects the law, this regulation has already helped more than 85 million Americans enrolled in the national phone number registry. As a result, a dramatic reduction in unwanted and annoying calls has been experienced by people everywhere.
How “Do Not Call” Registries Work
Simply placing a consumer’s cell or land-line phone number on the national registry list initiates this consumer protection program. By either calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone they wish to protect or visiting the official government website, a person’s phone gets blocked from telemarketing calls for approximately five years.
Working alongside the FCC, complaints are also handled by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), individual state registries and many local communities as well.
What To Do If Called
Once consumers receive phone calls from telemarketing companies after the 90 day waiting period expires following registration, they can do one of two things:
- Decide to tell the calling company to remove their phone number from the company’s calling list after you’ve turned to a “Do Not Call” Registry; get the company name and that of the telemarketer; warn them of possible complaint with the FCC or…
- Do not warn the company first and simply file a complaint directly with the FTC or FCC. This can be easily done by calling the official 1-888-383-1222 number or visiting government phone registry website. Consumers choosing to file a complaint need to give the date they received the call and the name of the company that called.
Other Helpful Recent Regulation Addons
Another irritation commonly experienced is answering the phone and finding no one is on the other end but a recorded message that puts the consumer on hold. Today, the holding period for an “empty” or “abandoned” recorded message is two seconds after consumers first answer and say hello. Furthermore, there are no sales pitches allowed.
Another beneficial regulation requires telemarketers to send their telephone number and name to the consumer’s caller ID. This ensures that the calls are immediately recorded for the consumer’s later use if they decide to file an official complaint.
The “Do Not Call” program is not perfect, but stiffer penalties to the tune of $11,000 per placed telemarketing call has helped reduced the number of intrusive calls to American consumers. No doubt telemarketers may find a way around these regulations; however, consumers also will discover a few strategies of their own to guard their time-honored privacy.