Call it off: How to get your number off telemarketing lists

Ever think you might just snap if there’s even one more dinnertime interruption from someone calling to sell you something?

If you’re tired of yelling “No!” at the pushy sales guy before hanging up, you will probably appreciate these tips on how you can avoid the hassle and just get your phone number taken off telemarketers’ lists.

Girl talking on the phone

Dialing for distraction: Get your number off telemarketing lists

Yeah, we’ve all been there. You’re about to sit down to dinner with your family — the one time you get to see everyone in one place all day long — and…

*ringring*
“Hello?”
“Hi, would you be interested in a timeshare in Siber-”
*click*

Telemarkers are quite possibly the most annoying thing known to humankind.

Here’s how you can get rid of them.

Do not call registries

1. Contact The National Do Not Call Registry: Started in June 2003, the Federal Trade Commission’s DNCR allows you to register your phone number with them. In turn, telemarketers must check the list a minimum of every 90 days. Any number on the list must be removed from their call list, or they can face fines.

You can easily register either by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone you wish to register, or by going to donotcall.gov and registering there. (It even works with cell phones.)

2. Contact The Direct Marketing Association: The DMA maintains their own national do-not-call list, and has done so since 1985 with the belief that telemarketers waste time and money by calling people who do not wish to be called.



Note, however, that some exclusions apply. There are some groups that are exempt from the Do Not Call Registry, so this will not block all unsolicited calls, but it will certainly cut down on them.

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You can still expect to hear from:

  • Charities, people conducting surveys, political organizations.
  • Calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship. (A company may call you for up to 18 months after you buy something, or for three months after you inquire about something or submit an application.)

Even after signing up for these two lists, you may still continue to get unsolicited calls here and there. To minimize your exposure, ask the telemarketer to put you on the company’s internal do-not-call list. If it is an automated call, listen to the message to obtain the company’s address or phone number, then contact them directly and ask to be placed on the internal do-not-call list.

It’s just politics

Also worth mentioning — those political robocalls you start getting around October of every year? Those are exempt from the FTC DNCR. But that’s okay, because you can do something about those, too:

NoMoRobo (formerly StopPoliticalCalls.org): A non-profit, non-partisan voter advocacy organization that will securely collect your contact information, then send it to all political parties, candidates, political action committees, and other organizations that make political robocalls and ensure that they are told you no longer wish to receive those calls. Click the link for more information and to register.

Keep in mind all of these solutions will take about three months fully take effect, but once they do, you should be able to enjoy your nice, quiet dinner.

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