There are Do Not Call rules covering unsolicited telephone calls from marketers, researchers and politicians, but there is also confusion because of many exemptions. Here's the lowdown.
A reader's inquiry prompted a new look at a familiar subject: unsolicited telephone calls from marketers, researchers and politicians.
The caller believed she had received annoying calls too late in the evening.
There are Do Not Call rules but there is also confusion because of many exemptions.
-A phone put on the federal Do Not Call list becomes permanently registered. To register or verify, go online to www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222.
-Both a land line and cell phone number can be put on the Do Not Call registry.
-Robocalls (made with automated dialers) are prohibited from calling cell-phone numbers, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Unsolicited text messages are also not allowed. You can complain online at esupport.fcc.gov/ ccmsforms/form1088.action?form- type=1088C .
Nearly all telemarketing robocalls have been illegal since Sept. 1, 2009, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC has launched a website, www.ftc.gov/robocalls, to help consumers battle robocalls.
You can report numbers on your caller ID received from entities identified as "Rachel" or "Card Services," which have been a particular problem and are illegally calling people, to www.donotcall.gov or 877-382-4357, where you can get a live person. The "Rachel" calls might ask about credit-card debt and offer services.
-Registering a number will not stop all calls but will stop most telemarketing that tries to sell a product. If you have a business relationship with them, they are allowed to call you. You can ask to be put on their own Do Not Call list and they must comply.
-Calls made from political organizations, charities and telephone surveyors, or on behalf of them, are permitted.
-Michelle Henry, president of the Center for Marketing Opinion and Research in Akron, Ohio, has tips for consumers who don't want to participate in surveys from marketers: Don't just hang up or tell them you are not interested. If you don't specifically tell the person not to call you again, you should expect to get called again, Henry said. If you want to participate, but it's a bad time, give the caller a better time to call back.
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