So you’ve come home from work, plopped down on the couch with beer in hand (or soda if you’re a teetotaler), and have just started to watch a new DVD you’ve been wanting to see. The phone rings, and the cordless is all the way across the room. Since you were expecting a call, you drag your tired butt off the couch and walk across the room to answer the phone, only to be greeted with a long pause, and then someone asking if you want to purchase a warranty for a car you haven’t had for five years. If you have a land telephone line, or lately even just a cell phone, something like this has probably happened to you more than a few times. The question is, how can you put a stop to it?
The first thing you must absolutely do right now is to put all of your numbers on the Do Not Call list, as set up by the U.S. Government’s Federal Trade Commission. The website is www.donotcall.gov, and it only takes a few simple steps to register all of your numbers. You will need a valid email address, as the process requires one in order to verify the request. Once you put a number on this list, it will not expire unless you disconnect the service such as with a move, so you don’t ever have to renew the registration as long as you have the number. And although it’s illegal for companies to use an auto-dialer to call cell phones, it’s probably a good idea to register those numbers as well. After all, it doesn’t cost anything.
Once your numbers are registered, they will show up on the list the next day, and most telemarketers will stop calling you as they update their lists. You will soon learn though, that this doesn’t prevent all unwanted calls. Some telemarketing companies take a chance and will call people on the list anyway, and for other groups, such as charities and those taking surveys, the list does not apply and they can call you anyway. In these cases, you should take the calls and immediately ask to be put on the organization’s no-call list. Most telemarketers will comply with this if you ask them, and this is much better than looking at the caller ID and just not answering the call, because they will keep calling you over and over again at different times of the day to try and determine when you are home.
If you are still getting some nagging, unwanted calls, there are some devices out there you can try that claim to throw off telemarketers, such as with a “line disconnected” tone. And some will automatically play a recording that you are not accepting solicitation calls that that number. I have not tried any of these devices, so I can’t tell you how well they work. One thing is for certain; if you are no fan of telemarketing calls, there is no perfect solution for you. But if you take a few steps to make sure your numbers are registered with the do-not-call list, you can dramatically cut down on the number of calls you will receive.