Telemarketing Podcast Transcript
Welcome to the Informed Consumer, providing the latest tips and tools to assist consumers in making informed decisions, from the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch.
Today’s topic is: Telemarketing.
Trying to limit the number of telemarketing phone calls you receive? Are you still receiving annoying telemarketing calls even though you’ve submitted your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry?
Make Sure You Are Registered
- Consumers can limit telemarketing calls by registering their personal home and cell telephone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register online at www.donotcall.gov or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222, TTY 1-866-290-4236, from the telephone number you want to register.
- There’s no charge to register, and you can register at any time. Ignore email alerts from companies offering to register your number for a fee or before a deadline: they are scams.
- Your registration is permanent and doesn’t need to be renewed. Verify your registration after significant changes in your account – like a change in billing name – as these changes can sometimes trigger a deletion in the Registry.
- Because the system automatically removes most numbers that are disconnected, you may need to re-register if your service has been disconnected and reconnected.
- The Registry accepts both landline (home) and cell phone numbers, but cell phones receive fewer telemarketing calls because federal regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call them.
Some Telemarketers Are Allowed to Call
- Most telemarketing calls – that is, calls to sell you goods and services – should stop 31 days after registration. Companies can call, however, if you’ve given them written permission to do so.
- Federal law allows calls from companies with which you have an existing relationship. Unless you tell the company to place you on its own do-not-call list, you may receive telemarketing calls up to 18 months after you make a purchase or payment, or up to three months after you submit an inquiry or application.
- Federal law also allows calls from or on behalf of charities, political organizations, and telephone surveyors.
Virginia Law Also Protects Your Telephone Privacy
- The Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act (VTPPA) prohibits telemarketers subject to the VTPPA from calling a telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Under the VTPPA, a telemarketer may call a residence only between 8:00AM and 9:00PM, must promptly identify himself using his full name and company, and may not intentionally block caller-identification services. If a consumer asks not to be called, that request must be honored for at least 10 years.
- The VTPPA’s penalty provisions allow consumers to sue violators and recover damages of $500 for each violation, or up to $1,500 for willful violations.
Complaints and Contact Information
- Keep a pen and pad of paper near the phone to jot down information about unwanted telemarketing calls, including the date, time, names, and purpose. These details will help you document your complaint.
- If you receive an unsolicited telemarketing call more than 31 days after your registration, you can file a complaint with the National Do Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222 (TTY: 866-290-4236). You’re not required to provide your name and address when making a complaint.
- The National Do Not Call Registry is a joint undertaking of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but is managed by the FTC.
Thanks for listening to the Informed Consumer. For more information on this topic or if you feel that you’ve been a victim of a scam, please contact the Consumer Affairs Branch at 703-222-8435 or visit our web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer. Informed Consumer is produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia, government.