Do-Not-Call List New Rules Going into Effect Soon

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If you are one of the millions of Americans who have placed your phone number on the Do-Not-Call list operated by the FTC, but you continue to receive calls, you are not alone.

And many of the calls being made now are pre-recorded.

This means that you can't even yell at a person on the other end of the phone to tell them to take you off their list. But now there is some relief in site. The FTC has just announced new rules for prerecorded calls that will be phased in over the next year. And phase one of the rules to go into effect on December 1st.

There are few things more frustrating than getting telemarketing calls from what can only be described as a robot. You can't yell at a prerecorded message so you probably just hang up. Even if you have caller ID, the chances are fairly good that you won't file a complaint with the FTC for a no-call list violation, and the telemarketers know this. And because you don't file a complaint, the chances are also good that your phone number will remain in the robot's database.

This only insures that you will receive additional calls. The FTC is the organization mandated by law to regulate telemarketing rules and which maintains the no-call list. And they have now announced that as of December, there are new rules regarding prerecorded telemarketing messages.

Under the new rules, any prerecorded telemarketing calls you receive will have to give you the option to opt-out of future calls. Even if you have a pre-existing business relationship with the organization that is calling you, such as with your bank or the company that services your home mortgage, you have to be given the ability to opt-out of future calls.

The opt-out requirement is also inclusive of messages that are left on voice mail or an answering machine. To accomplish this, prerecorded messages must also furnish a toll-free number that the person receiving the message can call to opt out. There are only three exceptions to the new rule. First is that calls regarding health insurance portability are exempt. The second is that non-profit organizations that are calling their members and/or previous donors are exempt.

And finally, calls that are informational in nature -meaning that the call is delivering a message that isn't trying to sell something - are also exempt. By September 1, 2009, the rules will be even more strict. On that date, even companies that have a pre-existing business relationship with you will be barred from using prerecorded telemarketing messages when they call you unless you have given them specific written permission to use this method. And even then, they will have to furnish you an opt-out method for any future calls.

The FTC is implementing the new rules after receiving more than 13,000 comments on the rules. One of the primary themes among the comments was that prerecorded calls tend to be coercive and they constitute a violation of privacy. The FTC also noted that just because companies have a pre-existing business relationship with their customers, those customers do not believe that this relationship is enough to prevent telemarketers from using abusive and coercive tactics. Put another way, most consumers don't trust the businesses that they purchase from.

Guest Blogger: Jim Malmberg

Lately I have received a lot of emails asking if cell phone numbers are going public. They are not.

 It's a hoax that began circulating the internet again.

Our Cell phone numbers are safe -at least for now!

The good news is, if you acted on the email and called the Registry to log your cell phone number -no harm was done. You simply added another level of protection by registering your number with the Do Not Call Registry.

The phone number itself was and is, a known legitimate number to the official Do Not Call Registry. You can call the same number to register your home phone number if you haven't done so. If you did so years ago -remember it only blocks calls for five (5) years. For more info on this cell phone number hoax and tips from the FTC, see my earlier blog about this: Email Hoax: Cell Phone Numbers NOT going public

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