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The federal government’s Do Not Call Registry is a free and easy way to reduce telemarketing calls to your home. To register, visit www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register. Your number will stay in the registry for five years unless you take it off the registry. After five years, you will be able to renew your registration. If you get restricted telemarketing calls after your number has been in the national registry for three months, you can file a complaint using the same web page and toll-free number.
Placing your number on this national registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all of them. Calls from political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors are still permitted. So are some calls concerning insurance.
Organizations with which you already have a relationship can call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase, payment, or delivery. Companies to which you have made an inquiry or submitted an application can call you for up to 3 months. You can stop these calls by asking the company to put your number on its own do not call list.
You can also tell each telemarketer who calls to put you on its own do not call list. Note the name of the person you spoke with, the organization, and the date of the call. The Federal Communications Commission requires telemarketers (except tax-exempt non-profit organizations) to maintain a record of your request not to receive future telephone calls. The record must be maintained for ten years. If you get another call from the same person or organization, report the date and source to the FCC.
Consider screening any calls that are still slipping through by using an answering machine. You can listen to the caller and decide whether you want to pick up. Your local telephone company may also offer services that only allow calls from certain numbers or allow you to see the name and number of the person calling you (Caller ID).
Some states have their own "Do Not Call" lists for residents. Contact your state consumer protection office to find out if your state has such a list and how you can be added.
The Federal Trade Commission has a rule that tells telemarketers what they can and cannot do when making a sales call. Callers must:
It’s illegal for telemarketers to:
This FTC rule still applies when you receive a call from a telemarketer in another state or country. It also applies if you make a call to a company in another state or country in response to a mail solicitation.
The rule generally does not apply when you call to order from a catalog or in response to an ad on television or radio, or in a magazine or newspaper. It also does not apply to solicitations you receive by fax or e-mail. Beware that certain types of businesses—including nonprofit organizations, investment brokers and advisors, banks, and financial institutions—are exempt from the rule.
File complaints concerning this rule with the Federal Trade Commission. To file electronically, choose the “File a Complaint Online” link at www.ftc.gov.
The Federal Communications Commission regulates calls using artificial or prerecorded voice messages. They may not be made to residential telephone numbers except in the following cases:
The beginning of the message must identify who is calling. During or after the message, the caller’s telephone number or address must be given. The phone number cannot be that of the auto dialer or prerecorded message player that placed the call. It also cannot be a 900 number or any other number with charges that exceed local or long distance charges.
This information is provided by the Federal Citizen Information Center of the U.S. General Services Administration.
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