It’s one of those things we deal with in America - the possibility that sometime, as you’re sitting down to enjoy dinner with your family, the phone is going to ring. And if you answer it during the dinner hour, there’s a HIGH probability that it’s some kind of survey or solicitation.
I get them on my land line all the time, and because I don’t have caller ID on the land line (I only maintain said line out of a specific need, and since AT&T sucks, I’m not gonna pay them anything extra for anything extra), I’ve pretty much started to ignore that particular phone. Besides, anyone who needs to talk to me knows to call my cell phone, which is on 24/7, and is usually located somewhere within reach. (If you call me at 3 a.m. like Daigle did once, you better be funny drunk, in jail, or in labor.)
Yesterday I got FOUR solicitation calls on my CELL phone. This has never happened before. Now, I DO have caller ID on my cell, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything in this case, since I answer calls from unknown numbers anyway. In the past, an unknown number either meant a friend or family was calling me from a different phone, or it meant a potential client was calling with a job. I HAVE to take those calls - they’re my bread and butter.
Anyway, yesterday, four times. I was excited every time, because I need some client work. Then I was pissed every time. I have a LOT of minutes on my calling plan, but still - every single one of those calls chewed into them a little bit. And they wasted my time.
Now, before you say anything, I know about www.donotcall.gov. And the first point of this post is to share its existence with anybody out there who DOESN’T know about it.
My land line is registered there and has been for 9 years. By the way, that doesn’t keep solicitations from happening, because you can still get calls from charities, political organizations, and telephone surveyors - and believe me, companies will disguise themselves as such to get at you. Still, I can’t imagine how many calls we’d get if we didn’t have that phone number registered.
I THOUGHT that my cell phone need not be registered because some law prohibited telemarketers from calling you on a line where you paid for your minutes. After getting four calls in one day, I called my cell carrier (which is Verizon) and asked about this. SADLY, I WAS MISTAKEN. Cell carriers don’t typically give out your number, and actually work hard to keep your number quiet. Apparently, though, their efforts aren’t foolproof, and your cell number - should it escape your grasp - is fair game.
Except for www.donotcall.gov. So I registered my cell number there last night.
I never understood the logic of cold calls and mail inserts, anyway, but I’m not going to go into that right now, because THAT tirade is long and bothersome, and I want to get to the next point.
And… the next point is to sell you on www.donotcall.gov. If you haven’t registered your phone number - be it land line or cell - on the Do Not Call Registry, you need to do it. Telemarketing ramps up when the economy fluctuates, and we are if anything in a great state of flux. The web site is easy to use, it’s practically instantaneous to get registered (although you have to wait 31 days for the calls to stop), and for the most part it works.
Remember that non-profits, churches, and politicians can still call you, and you can still get called to “participate in a survey”. But - and here’s something I DID NOT know until last night - the web site provides a means for you to file complaints against callers whom you think are in violation of the law. And although the majority of calls that I get SEEM to be legitimately exempt from it, many times I have my doubts. Now I know I can act on my doubts.
For instance, to me this means that, if at the end of a survey the caller tries to sell me something, I can report it.
All those mortgage lending companies? I’m gonna report them unless they’re from a genuine bank, and I seriously doubt many of them are. The ones that tell me that I need to CALL NOW regarding the interest rates on my credit cards? I’m pretty sure they should get reported.
Now, I don’t know what kind of effect reporting these violations will have, and that’s kind of why I’m writing this post. I want everyone that reads it to register his or her phone, and I want you all to help me report these people. Like I said, it’s pretty quick and easy - it takes less time for me to file a complaint against a number than it does to delete all the spam comments this site gets in a given day - and eventually, maybe telemarketing companies will get the point.
And THAT point is this:
No, we really don’t want any.