Apparently the rumors about cell phone numbers being released to telemarketers is unfounded, and there is no deadline to register. However, I have been receiving quite a number of telemarketing calls and prerecorded messages on my mobile phones lately. In my opinion, telemarketers are the lowest life forms in the food chain and should be hunted down and exterminated. There should be a bounty on them.
Whenever I get a telemarketing call, I politely say, “Wow, that’s really interesting. I’d like to know more about it. I’m busy right now, could you please give me your home phone and tell me when you eat dinner so I can call you back?” Click. They hang up.
The FTC and FCC have provided a modicum of consumer safeguard with its DoNotCall program. Call 888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to put on the do not call list. Or, you can go to www.ftc.gov/donotcall and register up to three numbers at a time. You will receive an email for each number and you must respond within 72 hours to complete the registration, which is good for five years.
However, this only gives you minimum protection. Non-profit organizations, political parties, and EBRs are exempt. I can’t tell you how much those automated campaign contribution calls annoy me and how little response they get from me. An EBR, by the way, is an established business relationship. This means that if you have had any business relationship with a company, they are free to call you. Strictly informational calls such as you get from your dentist reminding you of an appointment are exempt too.
Telemarketing firms are supposed to register and download a list of do not call numbers so that they can eliminate the do not calls from their calling lists. There is a fee, but If I were running the show, I’d charge them $100 per name for the do not call list and make it mandatory.
Now, if I were running a telemarketing company, I would simply turn it into a non-profit organization and pay myself a huge salary and have my bottom-dwelling employees call away with abandon fully sanctioned by the FTC.
What if you have a complaint against a telemarketer who you think may have broken the rules? You can file a complaint online by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/Complaint/ComplaintCheck.aspx. But, your phone number must have been in the registry for at least 31 days. Then you simply supply the requested information and submit it.
What could happen to a low-life telemarketer for breaking the rules? If you would like to read about a case in which a telemarketing company failed to give an accurate call back number so that consumers could complain, go to http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/scorpio.shtm. Each of the defendants in the case received a $530,000 fine, but they only had to pay a small fraction of it, and they were then free to continue with their dastardly deeds.
My best advice is do not give your phone number to anyone for any reason except trusted friends and relatives. It is amazing how quickly a phone number can be put on a list and sold to the telemarketing raptors. If you must complete a mandatory field in a form, use a fake phone number. Another piece of advice is to get a VOiP phone number and get rid of your landline altogether because your landline company will betray you by making your number available to telemarketers. I haven’t had a landline now for at least five or six years, and it feels really good not to be paying the phone company every month.
I highly recommend MagicJack for your consideration. A MagicJack is a little box about the size of a box of matches with a USB plug that you can connect to any computer and start making unlimited free calls all over the United States and Canada. International calls are as little as one cent a minute. The box costs $29.95, which includes one month free, and a year of service. Subsequent yearly subscriptions cost only $19.95. That’s a year, not a month! Visit www.magicjack.com for more information.
I’ve been using my MagicJack for over a year now, and it works like a charm. You can plug any phone into it and use the phone just as you normally would. I have a wireless phone plugged into it that I can use all over the house and even out in the garden, is I don’t get too far from the base station. If your computer has a built-in microphone and speakers, you can use them instead of a handset, which I do on my laptop. If you have a headset, you can use that if you prefer.
There are no extra charges for all the expectable services such as call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting and voice mail. Directory assistance is free, not $1.99 a call. The voice mail service is amazing. When you receive an unanswered call, MagicJack sends you an email with time, date, and number. Then, as an attachment, you get the actual recorded message for no extra charge.
Good luck with the telemarketing piranhas. Don’t forget to register today. Cancel your landline and get a MagicJack.