do not call

This must have been discussed recently but a search came up with nothing…

What is up with the Do Not Call list? Recently we’ve been getting a boatload of solicitors on our land line, then yesterday I got one on my cell. This despite being on the list. Do we have to renew or something?

No, those assholes are breaking the law. Every once in a while I’ll wade through the robocaller and then cuss out the telemarketer. It’s not particularly effective, but maybe I’ll get one or two of them to quit their illegal jobs, plus it makes me feel better.

I think maybe you do. Perhaps I need to check mine. The other thing is not getting caught. I recently had a call that caller ID identified as coming from the local community college.

In general I regard the no call list as highly successful and very consumer friendly. Unfortunately they allow too many exceptions. Grove City College has gotten their last penny out of me due to their calls begging for money. I vote against politicians that call me. I think it is quite obvious the general public hates telemarketing. How can anybody be stupid enough to do it?

You no longer have to renew. Take down the offender’s information so they can be properly fined.

I have a computer that I leave on all the time, with a modem that decodes Caller ID, and a free program called PhoneTray. If I get a robo call, I add it to the zap list, and if they ever call back, it hangs up automagically after one ring. You can ban whole exchanges with wildcard characters, and it keeps a handy record of all your incoming calls. You can also do an instant internet search on incoming number to get reverse phonebook information.

It is very satisfying when then phone rings once then goes quiet.

There are many exemptions to the Do Not Call list and they vary from state to state.

A comprehensive list here:

Not necessarily.

There are many exceptions to the Do Not Call list:

  • tax-exempt non-profit organizations (usually charities). But this also covers paid telemarketing companies calling ‘on behalf’ of the charity. Even if the telemarketer actually gets most of the donations connected.
  • political candidates or parties. Usually these are made by unpaid volunteers, but hired telemarketers are also covered.
  • companies with which you have an existing business relationship. So your bank, your dentist, etc, can call you, both about your account, or to try to sell you new services.

But this is the biggest loophole.
Many banks, credit card companies, etc. have lots of branches, selling all kinds of things. So for example, if you have a checking account at a Wells Fargo bank, the Wells Fargo investments division, or Wells Fargo credit cards division, or Wells Fargo Mortgage Refinance division, or Wells Fargo insurance division could all legally call you up despite the Do Not Call list. Because you have an existing business relationship with some part of the Wells Fargo Corporation.

And the loophole is even bigger. The people who are supposed to be regulating this have decided that if a company you do business with makes a deal with another company to do a ‘joint’ project, that other company can now legally call you up. So for example, if Wells Fargo makes a deal with Ford Motors (say ‘special’ deals on Ford cars if financed through Wells Fargo auto loans), then every Ford dealer in your area can legally call you up to try to sell you a car. And often these ‘joint’ projects are joint in name only; they effectively amount to one company selling their customer list to another company.

But all this is legal despite the Do Not Call list, thanks to the way it’s being administrated.

In addition, there are a lot of callers who use spoofed “from” numbers - usually dead phone numbers. So there’s no way to trace them. They’re definitely calling illegally and they know it, hence the spoofing. I know people have gotten calls from “Heather from Cardmember Services” and also the car warranty people (I think those are the same organization and like cockroaches, they’re impossible to squash effectively).

This is my experience, too. By far, most unsolicited calls I get are from my bank or credit card company trying to flog add on products. “Business relationship” makes that legal. And everybody wants to sell you insurance. Trying to get them stop proves futile in the end, and actually moving your business elsewhere would be too, as it’s a hassle and they ALL seem do it.

As everybody else points out, there are ways around it ranging from legitimate to unscrupulous. Sadly the best bet seems to be to employee screening devices (Caller ID or at minimum an answering machine) and only picking up on the calls you recognize.

Wow, I had no idea that the Do Not Call list had become so useless. Fortunately in my case, the spam calls come mostly to my land line, which is essentially just a message phone and for my fax. If I start getting any more to the cell, I’ll have a talk with Verizon.

I think that the DNC list is actually quite useful. I know that I get far, far fewer telemarketing calls these days…and it’s easier to wind up the cold calling telemarketers, because they know that they’re doing something illegal.

I agree. Nearly all the telemarketing calls I get anymore are legal under the exceptions to the Do Not Call list. (And I can end those quickly: “I’m not interested. Goodbye.” click.)

Frankly, I think cold-call telemarketing sales is going the way of door-to-door salesmen – dying out.

It just doesn’t produce enough sales to justify the expense of doing it, and that trend is increasing. Many people refuse to even answer their phone for an unidentified number, and many others refuse to purchase anything from telemarketers. This is even more true if you are violating the DO Not Call list – you know that those people object to calls, so you are start out with them unhappy with your call – not an easy way to sell things!

I’ve worked with doing political calls. Even though we are exempt from the Do Not Call list, we work very hard to ensure our calls go only to people willing to receive them. We exclude people from the other political party, and we also mark independents who are not supporting our candidates so they do not get future calls. We even have flags on our database to mark supporters who just don’t want more calls. We have to do that; such calls are wasteful and just cost too much of our volunteer resources.

And this is with unpaid, volunteer phoners. I just don’t see how you could make profit if you were paying phoners, and they were cold-calling unknown people. I have to assume that whatever they are selling is greatly overprice to support this overhead, so another reason not to buy from telemarketers.

Hint: If I’m on the DNC list, that doesn’t mean that I am willing to receive political calls. It just means that there’s an exemption for political parties. If I could get on a DNC list that DIDN’T have any exemptions, I’d be on it in a minute.

I like the DNC list. But I wish that it didn’t have any exemptions, or that it offered a way to opt out of ALL mass calls.

There are lonely old people who will take their calls, and buy their crap just to have someone to talk to. I had an elderly neighbor whose house was crammed full of super amazing plastic gee-gaws. She’d buy stuff every month and give it away.

Of course, callers from Canada do not have to obey an American DNC. Or callers from the Carribean. Not sure what the rules are if the calls originate on the internet VoIP (from who knows where) and get onto the phone system in the USA…

To be fair, callers from the USA can call Canadians on our own DNC list with impunity too so far.

And with VoIP it can be pretty simple (but illegal, IIRC) to spoof any Caller ID you want, since the calling exchange is responsible for handing off the caller ID information.

On a related note, in the last 3 weeks, my daily spam or two from 'lusty ladies looking for luv" has stopped completely and I am now getting twice as many, and they are all businesses now.

Weird, did my spam provider get a new contract?

I, too, have gotten an uptick on robocalls and both my phones are on the DNC list. Several have been calling my cell phone during the business day. I need to answer the phone even if I don’t know the number because of the nature of my job. If I answer and hang up again on a robocall, they know they’ve got a live phone. So, I wait to be put through to a person.

As soon as the person starts his spiel, I break in and say “I would like to ask you a question.” They almost always agree to let me ask. My question is “Do you know you work for a company that makes illegal phone calls? How do you feel about that?” They either hang up or mumble that they will take my number off their list. It’s pretty effective. I don’t get called again and it makes my coworkers laugh.

I have noticed that the numbers seem to come from North Dakota or Michigan but are dead-ends.

It has been extremely effective since the beginning.

I remember when I first started working at home before the DNC list began operation. I was surprised at the daily barrage of cold calls for all kinds of junk. It was everything from PBA donations to guys hawking long-life light bulbs to help handicapped people.

The evening hours were just as bad. I would get a call interrupting dinner two or three times a week, sometimes twice in one evening.

In the years since the DNC, these annoying cold calls are notable mainly because of their rarity. Though, I admit that Rachel from Cardholder Services is starting to get annoying.

In my experience, it’s been extremely IN-effective from the beginning, as I was afraid it would be. Practically all the junk calls I got then fit through one of the loopholes we’ve discussed, particularly the “business relationship”. Nothing really changed.