It’s been a long day, but you’re finally home. Dinner is ready. Work is a distant memory. That TV show you like is on tonight. Or, your new book is waiting to be read. For the next few hours, you can just relax. And then —
Your phone rings. And it’s not just any call interrupting your evening. It’s a…telemarketer!
The advent of the Do Not Call registry was supposed to put an end to this, but like cockroaches and horror movie villains, telemarketing calls are surprisingly hard to escape.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways you can avoid unwanted calls. Read on to learn how to get yourself off telemarketers’ lists and how to report do no call violations.
Find Out Who is Calling
If you want to get the calls to stop, you’ll have to make contact. Simply hanging up might be misinterpreted – did a child answer the phone? – or convince the telemarketer to just keep calling back until you answer.
Be polite – as tough as that might be – find out who is calling. Make a note of the time and date of the call, plus the caller ID. Having this info will make it easier to file a complaint. If calls continue after you’ve requested the caller stop, the telemarketer could be in violation of your consumer rights.
Callers are required by law to tell you if they are making a sales call or are calling from a charity. They also need to explain what they are selling or if they want a donation. If the caller won’t answer your questions, you might be dealing with a scam. In that case, you should report the calls to government agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and your state Attorney General. So, before hanging up, be sure to document the call in the event that you need to submit a complaint.
Ask to be placed on their “Do Not Call” list
Every telemarketing organization is required by law to have an in-house “do not call” list. Tell them – politely but firmly – that you want to go on that list: “Please put me on your internal do not call list.”
Keep insisting. If the caller won’t comply, ask to speak to his or her supervisor. Don’t relent until you get a chance to speak with someone in authority that will honor your request.
Ask if they’re working on behalf of another company. If so, find out the name and location of that company and ask to be placed on their do not call list as well. Find out how long it will take to have your name added, as some companies don’t always update the lists right away. In addition, you should write the company and request removal of your name from their call list. Be sure to keep a copy of your dated letter.
How to Report Do Not Call Violations
Once you’ve been placed on the do not call list, companies have the right to call you one more time. If this happens, make a note of the time and date of the call and the name of the caller.
Tell the caller you’re on the do not call list and let them know that any new calls you receive from them in the next 12 months may give you the right to file suit against them.
If you’re still getting unwanted calls, there are some steps you can take:
- File a complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry, which you can find at: www.donotcall.gov, or call: 888-382-1222. This registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission.
- File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission by calling: 888-225-5322
- File a complaint with your state Attorneys General.
Remember, never give out personal or financial information to a telemarketer.
If you’ve taken all these steps on how to report do not call violations and the unwanted calls haven’t stopped, or you’re getting auto-dialed “robo” calls to your mobile phone that you’ve never consented to, it may be time to take legal action.
The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows consumers to recover $500 to $1500 for every call they received after asking to be removed from a company’s list.
The attorneys at Flitter Milz are experts on TCPA law and have helped several Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents who have gotten unwanted calls or been the victim of unscrupulous telemarketers.
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