Adapted from Mark Mayes article, columnist / Lansing State Journal
Question: When is telemarketing not telemarketing, when it’s advertising?
Answer: No, that’s what unscrupulous cold callers want us to believe—but they’re wrong.
Rosemary Wade of Grand Ledge had an especially annoying encounter on Monday at — surprise, surprise — right around dinner time. Mrs Wade interrupted the caller, and told her she was on the Do-Not-Call list and asked the telemarketer not to call again. Then she hung up. Within seconds, the phone rang again.
“The woman told me, ‘For your information, we are not subject to the Do-Not-Call list. We are not soliciting. We are in advertising. We are calling to let you know about our product, not to sell it. You were rude to hang up on me.’ ” Mrs Wade told the woman she needed to get off the phone and asked her not to call again. The phone rang another time from the same number so she ignored it.
Advertising is telemarketing
Mitch Katz, public affairs specialist for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that operates and enforces the Do-Not-Call Registry said telemarketers provide many excuses to callers as to why they are exempt from the rules, such as they found the phone number on the Internet or some other advertising list. However, once someone is on the Do-Not-Call list — and more than 210 million people have signed up nationwide — the rules are clear and limited. For the record, advertising is telemarketing. The persistence of the caller doesn’t surprise Mitch Katz, public affairs that operates and enforces the Do-Not-Call Registry. “That’s just a way they’re trying to get around the regulatory rules,” Katz said. “They are selling a product. Advertising is a way to sell a product.”
Robo-marketing – a law unto themselves
Fred Copple of Williamston also emailed me this week questioning why he keeps getting robocalls, or pre-recorded telemarketing calls, from credit card companies. He’s on the Do-Not-Call list but can’t get them to stop. Katz said the FTC is fighting to stop those companies still making unsolicited commercial robocalls, which are illegal even for those not on the Do-Not-Call list. “Robocalls were essentially banned in 2009.”
Make a difference… make a complaint
Katz encourages those who sign up on the registry but continue to get calls to file a complaint. The phone number is 888-CALL-FCC (225-5322) and the website is www.fcc.gov/complaints. Callers should note the phone number of the caller, identify the individual and/or company that called and provide a description of the call. A mailing address and fax number, as well as other information, are available at: www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/do-not-call-list. Companies can receive stiff penalties for persistent violations…up to $16,000 per violation per day.
How to register
People can sign up for the Do-Not-Call list at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222. Those registering by phone must call from the phone number they wish to register.