If you are looking to stop or reduce telemarketing calls, here are three things you can do:
- When you receive a call, ask to be placed on the company’s “Do Not Call” List, which is required by federal law* to be retained.
- Register your phone number on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) National Do-Not-Call Registry.* To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222 (1-866-290-4236 TTY). You may also register online at www.donotcall.gov. Inclusion of your phone number on the National Do-Not-Call Registry will be effective 31 days following the date you register. Your number will remain on the list until you change phone numbers.
- Register your phone number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).* TPS is a national “do not call” list sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). DMA member companies will be required to remove your name from their call lists. Your name will remain active on the list for five years.
If you continue to receive calls 90 days after registering with The Telephone Preference Service, Do-Not-Call Registry, or asking a company to place your number on their Do Not Call list, you can write the Consumer Protection Bureau at NH Department of Justice, 33 Capitol Street, Concord, NH 03301-6397. They can be reached at (603) 271-3641. Be prepared to provide your name, address, and telephone number, as well as the name of the company and date of the unwanted call.
The Consumer Protection Bureau suggests you keep a log of these types of calls. You may also file a complaint with the FTC by visiting their website at www.ftc.org, or by contacting them at 1-877-382-4357. Complaints can also be filed with the FCC via email at email@example.com, or by visiting www.fcc.gov, or by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-TELL-FCC TTY).
*Registration on this list will not prevent calls from nonprofit organizations, political groups, polls, and companies you already do business with.
Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule
The FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule requires certain disclosures and prohibits misrepresentations. It gives you the power to stop unwanted telemarketing calls and gives state law enforcement officers the authority to prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who operate across state lines.
The rule covers most types of telemarketing calls to consumers, including calls to pitch goods, services, “sweepstakes,” and prize promotion and investment opportunities. It also applies to calls consumers make in response to postcards or other materials received in the mail.
The following information can help you determine if you’re talking with a legitimate telemarketer or a scam artist:
- It’s illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you’ve asked not to be called. If they call back, hang up and report them to your state Attorney General.
- Calling times are restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Telemarketers must tell you it’s a sales call and who’s doing the selling before they make their pitch. If it’s a prize promotion, they must tell you that no purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win. If you’re asked to pay for a prize, hang up. Free is free.
- It’s illegal for telemarketers to misrepresent any information, including facts about their goods or services, earnings potential, profitability, risk or liquidity of an investment, or the nature of a prize in a prize-promotion scheme.
- Telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the products or services offered and any restrictions on getting or using them, or that a sale is final or non-refundable, before you pay. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase or payment is necessary to win, and any restrictions to conditions of receiving the prize.
- It’s illegal for a telemarketer to withdraw money from your checking account without your express verifiable authorization.
- Telemarketers cannot lie to get you to pay, no matter what method of payment you use.
- You do not have to pay for credit repair, recovery room, or advance fee loan/credit services until these services have been delivered:
- Credit repair companies claim that, for a fee, they can change or erase accurate negative information from your credit report. Only time can erase such information.
- Recovery room operators contact people who have lost money to a previous telemarketing scam and promise that, for a fee or donation to a specified charity, they will recover your lost money or product or prize never received from a telemarketer.
- Advance-fee loans are offered by companies who claim they can guarantee you a loan for a fee paid in advance. The fee may range from $100 to several hundred dollars.
- If you have the slightest doubt about a telephone offer, wait until you can get information in writing and check it out!
- Telemarketers must transmit their telephone number and name to a Caller ID service.
To Report a Scam
Fight telephone fraud. Report telephone scam artists to your state Attorney General. The Telemarketing Sales Rule gives these local law enforcement officers the power to prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who operate across state lines.
To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4262.