How to Reduce Telemarketing Calls and Junk Mail

Tired of annoying telemarketing calls and junk mail filling your mailbox? Take the following steps to reduce your interruptions.

To reduce telemarketing calls:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it easier for consumers to block telemarketers with the National Do Not Call Registry. This program allows consumers to register their phone numbers and be placed on a national list of numbers that telemarketing companies are not allowed to call. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222, or online at www.donotcall.gov. Consumers DO NOT need to reregister their phone numbers - registrations will not expire. If a company tries to contact you after the initial 31 day registration period, consumers may file a complaint at 1-888-382-1222.

  • When you get a telemarketing call, simply say, "put me on your 'do not call' list." The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 requires companies to keep this list. Your request must be honored for 5 years.

  • Get an unlisted number.

To reduce junk mail:

  • Register with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service. You can get off many national mailing lists this way. Your name will remain on this "delete file" for five years. Complete this form, or draft a letter including your name and address, and mail it to:

    DMA Mail Preference Service
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale , NY 11735-9008

  • Tell the credit reporting agencies that you don't want to receive pre-approved offers of credit. Those credit card offers that come in the mail are from companies who get your name and address from one of the credit reporting agencies. Call toll-free: 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. You may also visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com. You may choose to opt out for five years, or permanently. You can also call the same number or visit the same website to opt back in.

  • Tell magazines to which you subscribe, and charities to which you donate, that you don't want them to share your name with other businesses or charities. Request the same from mail order companies.

  • Read the privacy policies of your credit card companies and banks. The policies must give you an "opt-out" option, by which you can tell the bank not to share your personal information with other companies. The bank may still be allowed to share your information with its "affiliate" companies.

  • Don't enter sweepstakes and drawings. The main purpose of many contests is to compile mailing lists. If you enter one contest, you are likely to receive mailings from other contests.

More Help

Get more ideas on how to stop junk mail and telemarketing by visiting the Federal Trade Commission's website here: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm.

Read more about your rights under the Telephone Customer Protection Act at the Federal Communications Commission website, www.fcc.gov/cib/.

For more information on how to avoid telemarketing fraud visit the Federal Trade Commission website, www.ftc.gov.

The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule helps protect you from abusive and deceptive telephone sales practices. The Rule restricts calling times to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and puts other limits on telemarketers, too. For example:

  • Telemarketers must tell you it's a sales call, the name of the seller and what they're selling before they make their pitch.

  • It's illegal for telemarketers to lie 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.

  • Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the goods they're selling, any restrictions on receiving or using them, and if a sale is final or non-refundable. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase or payment is necessary to win and any restrictions or conditions on receiving the prize.

  • It's illegal for a telemarketer to withdraw money from your checking account without your expressed, verifiable authorization.

  • It's illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you have asked not to be called.
 
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