Posts Tagged ‘Do Not Call Registry’

A Small Victory for Productivity

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


Today I was very pleasantly surprised when I received a call from a major telecommunications company. I had received unsolicited text messages from this company (for which my mobile telephone company charged me). I am not, and have never been, a customer of this phone company and I do not wish to pay for the privilege of being abused by intrusive mobile spam. There is nothing more annoying than the vibration of your cell phone over a meal. You apologize to your companion for the interruption, but since the phone is for emergency use only, you have to check the message.  Then you find out that it is a spammer or robo-dialer harassing you. Does any company really think that this is the way to acquire customers?

So I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s online form. Although the process took only five minutes, I thought it a waste of time, as with the volume of complaints they receive, I certainly did not expect a response. But I filed my complaint as a matter of principle. Did you know that you may file a complaint if you received a call that used a recorded message instead of a live person, even if your telephone number does not appear on the Do Not Call Registry?

Calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationships are exempt from the provisions of the Do Not Call list, unless you have instructed them that they are not to solicit you. That was the issue of interest to the telecommunications company that called me. Apparently, the FTC forwarded my complaint to the company for a response. The company was embarrassed to learn that as its service is not allowed in my building, I cannot possibly be a customer. The representative of the company was apologetic and promised to further research the matter.

The National Do Not Call Registry was established to allow us to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls at home. Personally, I don’t agree with the approach. I believe telemarketers should only be able to call those who have “opted in” to receive such calls. That would dramatically reduce the call volume, wouldn’t it? But the government is reporting success with its approach: according to a recent Harris Interactive poll, 92% of people who reported placing a number on the registry said they are receiving fewer calls; 78% said they’re getting “far fewer calls” or none at all.

Companies that violate the provisions of the Do Not Call Registry may be subject to fines of up to $16,000 per offense. With the government desperate for revenues, the FTC may be motivated to follow up on individual complaints. In any event, I feel better for not having tolerated the abuse. As small business owners, particularly those working from home-based offices, these unwanted intrusions are a drain on our productivity and entirely unacceptable.