Stop getting prerecorded telemarketing calls

We're on the Do Not Call list, but we still get prerecorded calls from the likes of "Heather" and her fellow drones. Why is this happening? It's terribly annoying.[via msn]

Luckily we came across this post by Herb Weisbaum, aka ConsumerMan at MSNBC, while we were researching another topic. He says you can now opt out of these calls -- and can do it quite simply.

First of all, ConsumerMan says that if you're on the Do Not Call list, prerecorded telemarketing calls are legal only from companies with which you already have a business relationship. He defines that as: "If you bought or rented something from that company within the last 18 months, or simply inquired about a product or service within the last three months, you've established a business relationship."

(Some companies ignore this rule or stretch it to the breaking point. We don't know of any business relationship we've had with the companies that keep calling. Maybe it's time to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.)

How do you get them to stop? Simply hanging up won't do it.

  • As of last month, the company must give you a way to opt out, like pushing 1. Listen to the instructions at the end of the pitch.
  • EveryCall says a method to opt out must be provided whether the prerecorded call reaches a human ear or ends up as a message on your answering machine.
  • Starting Sept. 1, a company you have a business relationship with will need your agreement in writing or electronically to send you robo-calls. They'll probably come up with some crafty ways to trick you into that.

Other things you should know:

  • Informational prerecorded calls from a company you have a business relationship with are allowed. ConsumerMan says that would include calls from an airline letting you know your flight has been delayed.
  • Political calls and calls from charities are exempt. However, if the charity hires an outfit that uses prerecorded calls, you can opt out from receiving them as well.
  • You can sign up for the Do Not Call list online or by calling (888) 382-1222 from the phone number you want to put on the list. That includes cell phones. There's about a month delay before the registration takes effect.
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