Damned local phone service competition

This is no joke. I need help.

Since competition for local phone service opened up, I am getting at least 3 calls a day to my New York City apartment from service providers. They will not leave me alone. The offenders?

MCI WorldCom - They call me up and greet me with “Hi, this is blah blah blah from your long distance company. We want to make you aware we’re now offering local service.” As if just being my long distance company somehow gives them the right to call me whenever they feel like it and give me a sales pitch…

AT&T - I ditched AT&T’s long distance and cellular services last year after they demonstrated an inability to process payments from my PC banking service. Still, they call to ask me if I want local service.

Sprint - Their bright and cheerful telemarketing clones are driving me insane. “Guess what? [10-millisecond dramatic pause] We’re now offering LOCAL SERVICE…” They say this as if hearing their sales pitch is some sort of significant milestone in my life; as if I might make a sign of the cross, look skyward and thank the Lord above that Sprint is FINALLY offering local service.

Thanks for allowing me to vent. Now I’ll get to my question.

What do I do? Each and every time these people call, I ask them not to call back. The very next day, they call again. Can this be considered harrassment?

Most companies will take you off their list for two months if you ask them not to call again, but this is a temporary solution. You might want to fire up your search engine, there are services out there that will get you taken off the telemarketing lists for free. It takes a few months to get you out of all the systems, so you’ll have to be patient.

Another tactic you might try is this. When you get one of these calls, ask to talk the the person’s supervisor. Get the mailing address of the telemarketing division. Inform the supervisor that if you get anymore calls from the company they will be billed three hundred dollars for the use of your phone line for their advertising purposes. Armed with the address, you send them a letter to the same effect. Next time you get a call, tell the twit on the other end of the line that the company has been informed in writing that they will be billed, yada yada.

Then send them a bill.

Let me know what happens.

I’ve had the mere threat work for me on a few occasions, I haven’t had to resort to actually sending the bill yet.

Actually, if you ask them to take you off their list, they are required by law to never call you again.

I can’t remember if that was through the FTC or the FCC.

Next time they call, explain to them something to this degree:

“I am formally requesting that my name be removed from your call lists. According to federal law, if I recieve another phone call from your company you are violating such laws and I will file a complaint.”

or whatever…but if you bring up formal request and law, they are 'sposed to leave you alone.


The next time they call, ask the TM drone to place you on their company’s ‘Do Not Call’ list. All telemarketing firms are required by Federal law to have and maintain one. If you get a call again from the same company within a 10-year period after being placed on their list, you can sue them for as much as $500.

There are lots of great anti-telemarketing resources on the net – I recommend http://www.junkbusters.com.