Jim Porter: ‘Do not call’ does not work
Special to the Sun
There is nothing more irritating than unsolicited callers pestering you at all times of the day and evening.
“Is this Mr. Porter? My name is Oscar Johnson. I hope you’re having a good evening this Sunday. I wanted to tell you about our new offer, just for you.” Mr. Porter: “Oscar, here’s what I think of you: ‘*#@%#’.
Do Not Call Registry
Back in September 2003, we wrote glowingly of the National Do Not Call Registry, noting that Congress “finally did something worthwhile.” I misspoke.
The National Do Not Call Registry and California’s implementation laws finally would mean the end of harassing telemarketing robo calls. WRONG.
Despite news articles about the success of the program, in my little mind and at our house it’s been a total failure. (Just like the laws prohibiting TV commercials from being louder than the program.)
The Do Not Call program allowed consumers to sign up for the Do Not Call Registry, and still does. Go online to http://www.donotcall.gov or register by calling 1-888-382-1222; for TTY call 1-866-290-4236. You must call from the phone number you wish to register.
I think it’s worth doing despite spammers who are still able to hide their caller identification information thus preventing angry consumers from successfully registering complaints with the FCC. Not that anything will be done.
Exceptions to Do Not Call
The law requires telemarketers to search the Registry every 90 days and delete from their call list phone numbers that are on the Do Not Call Registry.
Exceptions to the restriction include calls on behalf of a charitable organization unless the call is made by a for-profit telemarketer.
Other exceptions are long distance telephone companies, political organizations (no surprise there), public opinion or market surveys, airlines and insurance companies that operate under state regulations, and business organizations that have an established business relationship with you.
They may call for up to 18 months after your last purchase or payment – even if your name is on the Do Not Call Registry.
Also exempted from the new laws are companies to which you have made an inquiry or submitted an application. They may call you for up to three months.
The telemarketers may not call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. There are all sorts of other restrictions, which may or may not be honored.
You may file a complaint by telephone by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY, by fax to 1-866-418-0232, or by electronic complaint form or mail.
Provide your name and address, home phone number, identification of the company or products solicited, a description of the call and a statement you did not invite the call. If you’re mailing a complaint, send it to: FCC, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 445 12th St., SW, Washington, DC 20554. Good luck with that, but do it.
What I used to do when I got these calls is hang up or scream a rude profanity at the caller. I felt pretty good about that. But it didn’t slow down the calls. In fact, I think the calls increased.
My new tactic, for what it’s worth, is — with the sincerest voice I have — to ask the caller by name to honor that I’m on the Do Not Call Registry and request that they take me off their list.
At that point about half the callers hang up, but the other half sincerely, or so it seems, say they will do so, adding it will take a few weeks to be completely off their list.
If you have another trick dealing with these annoying calls, let me know.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com.
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