You can put a stop to annoying calls from telemarketers by registering your telephone number with the Do-Not-Call-Registry established in 2003 under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Registering a telephone number is free, and the number remains on the list until you remove it or discontinue phone service.
General Rules under the TCPA
Telemarketers cannot call your residential telephone number or wireless phone number once you place them on the registry. Examples of sources of calls that are not prevented by the Do-Not-Call-Registry include:
? Organizations with which you had an existing business relationship
? Telemarketers or others to whom you have given written permission to call
? Political organizations and charities
? Telephone surveyors not involving a commercial solicitation
The law requires that telemarketers must search the Do-Not-Call-Registry every 31 days and dropped registered numbers from their call lists. As an added consumer protection, telemarketers cannot block their telephone numbers from appearing on a consumer?s caller ID.
Other features of the law to limit annoying calls to consumers include a ban on telemarketing calls later than 9 p.m. or earlier than 8 a.m. Callers must identify themselves by offering their name, the name of the company they represent and contact address or telephone number.
Registering Your Telephone Number
Registering a residential telephone number or a mobile number can be done by telephone or at the National Do-Not-Call-Registry website that is managed by the Federal Trade Commission. Telephone numbers appear on the registry within 24 hours after consumers register, but it can take up to 31 days for telemarketers to drop the phone number from their call lists.
Consumers who change their minds can remove a telephone number from the Do-Not-Call-Registry in much the same process as they followed for registration. Phone numbers are removed from the Do-Not-Call-Registry within 24 hours, but it can take up to 31 days for telemarketers to access the information.
Other Methods to Stop Telemarketing Calls
Telemarketers must maintain an in-house do not call list. A consumer may ask a telemarketer to be added to the company?s do not call list even if the consumer is not on the National Do-Not-Call-Registry. Many state governments have laws pertaining to unwanted telemarketer calls that work in much the same manner as the federal registry.
Consumers can file complaints about violations of the National Do-Not-Call-Registry with the Federal Trade Commission or with the state consumer protection agency in which the consumer resides. Complaints can result in a referral of the complaints to a law enforcement agency for prosecution of the offending telemarketer.