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Cashman: Do not call? They still do

Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

You know the drill. You sit down to dinner with the family and – the phone rings. It’s prime time for telemarketers, because they have statistics that say you’re probably home.

Like many people, you’ve probably entered your phone number into the National Do Not Call Registry, which gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.

The National Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency. It is enforced by the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission, and state law enforcement officials.

Your registration will not expire. Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008.

Problem is, many still receive telemarketing calls after registering their phone numbers.

The Do Not Call Registry is a farce, as far as Robert C. Van Ness Jr. is concerned.

“If they’re looking for ways to cut the budget, why not cut the FCC or FTC? They’re both worthless,” Van Ness said.

“My telephone number was added to the supposed list to not receive these unwanted calls quite some time ago,” Van Ness said.  “I recently re-entered my number on the list.  I have done the same thing with my cell-phone number. In spite of having recently reregistered my number, I still receive these calls.”

Van Ness, of Algonquin, said he has made repeated efforts through various channels to make the calls stop.

“I filed a police report after being threatened by one of these telemarketers. I have contacted (Attorney General) Lisa Madigan’s office in Springfield.  I spoke to someone in the attorney general’s office in Chicago.  I contacted my legislators, I have contacted the FCC and the FTC on multiple occasions and filed multiple complaints, which seemed to irritate one of the civil servants I spoke to whose job it is to take complaints from the public. 

“No one wants to take ownership of my problem,” Van Ness said.

He said he has been keeping accurate records of these unwanted calls for some time now, and gets at least one or two calls a week from telemarketers. “I have been told that maybe I should consider changing the phone number that I have had for the last 35 years. To me, that option is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“The Do Not Call list is a farce and should be an embarrassment to the people who run it,” he added.

The FTC is well aware that consumers are getting more and more illegal robocalls than ever.  Technology is the primary reason.  Companies are using autodialers that can send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost. 

According to the FCC, If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall.

If you get a robocall, the FCC advises to hang up the phone. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator and don’t press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

• Email ccashman@shawmedia.com

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