It's a call many of you have received at home or on your cell whether you wanted it or not -- a call from telemarketers promising everything from lower interest rates on your credit card to home security. And despite the increase in phone number registrations on the “Do Not Call” list, which is over 217 million registrants so far, the calls keep on coming.
Jim Shuster says he gets five to six calls a day despite having his home, two pizza restaurants, and cell phone numbers all on the do not call list. "Especially East Coast! Oh, they drive me nuts! The East Coast with their three hours difference. They will call me up at 6 a.m. and want to talk about how they're going to increase my sales by 40%. I'm looking at 40% more sleep," said Shuster.
But what tops it off for this pizza maker is what didn't happen when he complained to the Federal Trade Commission.
"You can tell somebody you're on the do not call list but they still call," says Shuster.
"I know anecdotally we get a lot of complaints about calls to cell phones," says Gary Ivans, staff attorney from the F.T.C.
The problem is anyone is reachable any day, any time via a cell phone and marketers know it. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission believes that's why telemarketers have expanded their tactics to include mobile devices to reach consumers.
Ivans says the F.T.C. is busy as ever cracking down on do not call violators. Since the program started in 2003, the F.T.C. has won over $69-million dollars in civil penalties against businesses and individuals for violating the rules. Here in the Bay Area, the most complaints against telemarketers are coming from the 408 area code in the South Bay and the F.T.C. says it's possible some marketers have targeted this area.
"Often the people violating the do not call rules are also involved in telemarketing fraud," says Ivans.
It only takes one call to make a complaint to the FTC. Make sure you get the name of the company calling you, their number, and where they are located.
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