BBB Advice on Cutting Down Telemarketing Calls
Every year BBB receives thousands of calls from consumers who are upset about receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls from various businesses and organizations. BBB provides the following information about the National and Texas Do Not Call Registries and also reminds consumers that some organizations may be exempt from having to abide by the Telemarketing Do Not Call Law.
Consumers can sign up for National Do Not Call Registry and a Texas Do Not Call list. To verify that your number is on the National Registry, call 1-888-382-1222. You may also check online by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/conf.aspx. Texas maintains its own Do Not Call List. You may go to www.texasnocall.com or request a registration form by calling 1-866-896-6225. While the registries accept cell phone numbers as well as personal landline numbers, business to business calls and faxes are not covered.
“Unfortunately, having your phone number on the Registry will not stop all telemarketing calls”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “There will always be those unethical individuals who will disregard the Telemarketing Do Not Call Law, and some calls are exempt from this law.”
BBB addresses the most common requests for information regarding telemarketing calls which are exempt:
Calls from, or on behalf of political organizations. These calls are not included in the definition of “telemarketing.” As the election year rhetoric intensifies, the frequency of these calls will likely increase. You can ask them not to call you, but they are not obligated to honor your request.
Calls from charitable organizations. The actual charities are exempt from the Telemarketing Law. However, if a third-party fundraising company calls on their behalf, you may ask not to receive any more calls from them.
Calls from those conducting a survey. As long as the sole purpose of the call is to conduct a survey, it is exempt from the Telemarketing Law. However, callers who claim to be taking a survey but also try to sell you goods or services must follow the Law.
Calls from a company from which you made a purchase. Once you purchase something from a business, you establish a business relationship with them. This gives them the right to call you for up to eighteen months after your last purchase. However, if you instruct them not to call, they are bound to honor your request.
Calls from a company from whom you requested information. By making an inquiry to a company or submitting an application to it, you also establish a business relationship with that company. The company is allowed to call for up to three months after your inquiry.
If you continue to get unsolicited calls from organizations which are not exempt, you may file a complaint on the www.donotcall.gov web site or by calling the FTC at 1-877-382-4357. Complaint information must include the date of the unwanted phone call and either the name or the telephone number of the marketer. There are steep fines per violation for telemarketers who do not comply. The FCC can issue warning and impose fines but they do not award damages to individuals.