I hear so many complaints about telemarketing and sales calls. In this day and age, ending those unwanted calls is as easy as placing a phone call yourself and yet so many people don’t take two minutes to remove a whole lot of aggravation from their lives.

The Do Not Call Registry started in back in 2003 and today 230 million phone numbers are on the blocked list, but that still leaves tens of millions of phone lines open to telemarketing calls.

Registering for the No Call list takes just a couple minutes. All you need to do is go to donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register. It’s free. It’s super easy, and within a month those sales calls will stop or at least slow down considerably.

From my experience, the Do Not Call Registry as worked wonders. I can’t think of the last time my day was interrupted by a telemarketing call. However, the system is far from foolproof, as evidenced by the 19,000 complaints that are made each day to the Federal Trade Commission. Telemarketers have found some creative around the registry, and some just take their chances that they won’t be caught. While sales calls are prohibited, other types of calls (like annoying political robocalls) are protected.

Here's some information from the FTC website:

Will the Registry stop all unwanted calls?

No. The Do Not Call Registry stops sales calls from real companies. The Registry is a list that tells telemarketers what numbers not to call. The FTC does not and cannot block calls. The Registry can’t stop calls from scammers who ignore the Registry.

One reason people get a lot of unwanted calls is because it’s easy and cheap for scammers to call people anywhere in the world. To get fewer unwanted calls, look into blocking unwanted calls. There are different call-blocking options for mobile phones, traditional landlines, and landlines that use the internet (VoIP).

You can find a list of some call-blocking apps for mobile phones at ctia.org, a website for the U.S. wireless communications industry. For company-specific information about blocking calls on landlines and phones that use the internet, go to the FCC’s Call Blocking Resources.

Can a company still call me with a sales pitch?

Companies can call you if you’ve recently done business with them, or if you’ve given them written permission to call. But if you ask them not to call you, they have to stop. Be sure to write down the date you asked them to stop.

Are any other types of calls still allowed under FTC rules if I’m on the Registry?

The rules allow:

But these calls can’t also include a sales pitch.

What about robocalls?

If a robocall — a call that plays a recorded message — is selling something, it’s illegal unless you’ve given a company written permission to call you that way.

So if you haven’t given the company permission, and the robocall isn’t purely informational — like your cable company confirming a service appointment — there’s a good chance it’s a scam. At the very least, it’s from a company you don’t want to do business with.

If you get an illegal robocall, hang up. Don’t press buttons to be taken off a call list or to talk to a live person. It might lead to more unwanted calls. Instead, report it to the FTC.

Report Unwanted Calls

Where can I report an unwanted call?

Report unwanted calls at donotcall.gov. Report the number that appears on your caller ID — even if you think it might be spoofed or faked — and any number you’re told to call back.

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