Block telemarketers with National Do Not Call Registry
The phone rings. You pick up and unhappily discover
the sound of silence on the other end. It's a telemarketer, you
realize. Immediately, some fun ideas come to mind. You could pretend
you know the person on the other end of the line. Or, exclaim how
glad you are someone called because you have no friends.
Humor aside, you could do something smart: Hang up
and put your number on the nationwide do not call list.
Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, established by the federal government
in 2003, makes that easy to do.
It keeps a list of consumer phone numbers that most
telemarketers can't call for five years. Those who add their telephone
numbers to the registry can expect to receive fewer telemarketing
calls after a month. The Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications
Commission and individual state governments require marketers to
purge their calling lists of registered numbers every 31 days.
Phone numbers don't automatically make the list. You
have to call (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to block or
enroll online at www.donotcall.gov.
Registration is free. There is no deadline for adding numbers.
If a telemarketer dials your number after 31 days
from the date it was registered, you can file
a complaint against the caller. Collect the solicitor's name
or phone number and write down the date of the call. Violators could
be fined $11,000 per incident.
If you enroll in the registry, the only information
that will be kept is your telephone number -- and your e-mail address,
if you register online. Registration can be renewed every five years;
and your number stays in the registry for five years unless you
want it deleted or your phone number gets disconnected. To remove
your number, you must call (888) 382-1222 from the phone number
you want deleted.
But don't expect to eat your dinner uninterrupted
every night. A lot of companies are exempt from the new rules. They
include companies you have an existing business relationship with,
given written permission to call you, charities, telephone surveyors,
some banks, long-distance phone companies, airlines and political
If you ask a company not to call you, it must honor
your request even if you have an established business relationship.
Companies will have to maintain their own, individual do-not-call
||Other provisions of the Telemarketing
Beware of scams
Remember that registering your number doesn't cost anything and
doesn't require you to provide personal information. In fact, when
you register a phone number online, the process only requires the
phone number for the list and an e-mail address. Unsolicited calls
or ads offering to register your phone number for a fee or that
ask for personal identifiers to "update" your registration are scams.
You can renew your registration for free every five years.
Bankrate editorial assistant Leslie
Hunt contributed to this story.