We have all been there. You are just sitting down to your evening meal and the phone rings. But it isn’t a call you are waiting for. It’s one of those annoying robocalls that are promoting some cause or looking to sell you some product or service.
Several years ago the FCC instituted a Do Not Call Registry where you could register your phone number to indicate you no longer wished to receive those calls. I did that long ago and it greatly reduced the number of telemarketing calls we received.
Only a partial solution
While this registry helped, it wasn’t a perfect solution. There were exceptions that weren’t covered by the registry. For example, if you had an existing relationship with the company, they were still permitted to contact you. If you had a bank account with a particular institution, then they are still permitted to call you regardless of whether you have listed your number on the Do Not Call Registry. Also, certain non profits and political organizations were exempted from the registry. (Hence all the candidate robocalls come election time.)
In addition to those exceptions, there are also less than reputable call centers that simply ignore the do not call list. If they are found out, they just close up shop and open in another location under a different name.
Tougher guidelines for robocalls
Consumer Reports recently noted that the FCC has begun to move toward tightening these guidelines even further. These new guidelines would eliminate the loophole that permits companies to call you if they have an existing business relationship with you. You would have to give a company explicit permission to call your number. Telemarketers would also have to allow you to immediately opt out of any future calls.
If you are tired of getting these telemarketing calls, there are two things you can do.
- If you have not done so already register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry.
- Consumer Reports is petitioning the FCC to aggressively enforce these new regulations. If you would like to add your voice to theirs you can find more information at: Fed up with robocalls? You can help put an end to them.
While there’s no way to completely eliminate these calls, these steps can significantly reduce the number of interruptions you receive.
Photo credit: Hades2k (creative commons)