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What Happened To The ‘Do Not Call’ List?

I recall back around 2005 when I was working for a company that was involved in sales. There was no telemarketing involved but we did have to call a potential client once in a while when they called the office after hours and left a message.

It was drilled into our heads that we had to honor the sacred “Do Not Call” list as if it were handed down by God himself. We were told again and again to never call a number that was listed on the “Do Not Call” list without proof that the person being called had given us permission to call them or that we were otherwise already involved with them as a client.

We were told that the company could face a fine of up to $11,000 if one of us called someone on the “Do Not Call” list and they decided to file a complaint against us. We were led to believe it was a big deal and were constantly reminded. Keep in mind that the business I was employed by wasn’t even using telephone calls for marketing and sales!

Well, here we are some eight years later and it appears that the “Do Not Call” list is a complete joke. Not that I’m surprised that something the federal government created would wind up failing! At this point, I’d call the “Do Not Call” list an epic fail.telephone-handset

It actually seemed like it worked for a while. I always made certain that all of our phone numbers were on that list and I must admit, for quite a few years we got very few telemarketing calls. At the time I attributed that to the success of the “Do Not Call” list but now I am starting to wonder.

We moved not that long ago and left our old telephone number behind. Since then I am beginning to think there was something about our old number that was responsible for the lack of telemarketing calls. Maybe the population in that area just wasn’t that responsive to telemarketing and the telemarketing companies didn’t bother much with it. I’m just taking stabs in the dark here and have no idea why we received so few telemarketing calls in all the years we lived there. It was a good run while it lasted!

When we moved I made sure that we got our new number submitted to the “Do Not Call” list right away. I know it can take a few months before the number was actually “live” on the list but we’re way past that point now.

As soon as we moved into our new home we started getting telemarketing calls. I figured it would go on until the “Do Not Call” list was updated and then things would get quiet once again. I was mistaken.

We don’t get an extraordinary amount of them – maybe one or two per week – but to me any telemarketing call is one too many. I can’t recall the specifics on each one of these calls (maybe I should start keeping records) but here are some of the numbers that have been showing up lately when telemarketers call:

661-748-0240
971-220-1967
201-606-3436
417-800-2363

That last one – believe it or not! – actually displayed “Lower Interest” on the caller ID when they called. I’ll give them a couple of points for not being completely deceptive but they shouldn’t be bothering people with unwanted phone calls at all.

Some of them are clearly using deceptive tactics and doing things like spoofing their outgoing caller ID data. One of the more common tricks is for it to show up displaying “Wireless Caller.” That’s clearly not the case since these automated robo-dialers are not calling on cell phones.

The latest one I got was just an hour or so ago and it was one of those that displayed “Wireless Caller” on the caller ID. The number shown was 919-741-5631 and it was a recording about some kind of alert system for elderly people. Brings to mind the old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” television commercials for those of us old enough to remember them.

Anyway, I always listen to these recordings when these morons call because sometimes they have instructions on what key to press to be removed from their list. That’s always at the very end of the message, of course.

What’s surprising is that pressing the number to be removed from their list actually seems to work in some cases. I have done it a few times and never heard from that particular caller again unless they are selling something different the next time and using a different caller ID number. This latest call instructed me to press 5 to be removed from their list and I did. We’ll see what happens.

I called the number back to give the idiots a piece of my mind but like so many other cases, all I got was a recording advising me that the number was “no longer in service.” That pretty much proves to me that they’re spoofing caller ID data. Nice folks.

Getting back to the “Do Not Call” list, my confidence in it was shaken a bit a few years ago when I received one of the few bona fide telemarketing calls we got at our previous home. I knew my number was on the list so I gathered as much information as I could about the caller and went to the proper website to report the violation and hoped they would make those idiots pay a hefty fine or something.

Weeks passed before I finally got something in the U.S. Mail. I cannot recall specifically what agency it was (it may have been the FTC) but the letter instructed me that I had to contact the FCC and file my complaint with them.

So, I diligently followed the procedure I was instructed to follow in order to lodge my complaint with the FCC. Weeks passed again. It may have even been months. I wish I had saved the letter I received from the FCC but I was probably so ticked off that I ripped it up and threw it out.

Basically, they told me there was nothing they could do! I jumped through all the hoops and filled out all the proper forms in order to report a blatant violation of the “Do Not Call” list only to have some bureaucrat tell me there was nothing they could do about it. Like I said, I wish I had saved the letter so I could post it here but my memory is very clear about one thing: They said there was nothing they could do.

So, if your phone number(s) are registered on the “Do Not Call” list and you start getting telemarketing calls (or perhaps they never stopped!) don’t be surprised. Just as they are in so many other areas, the federal government is mostly useless. They’re good at taking our money away and spending it foolishly as well as blowing people up on the other side of the world but beyond that, they can’t seem to get anything right. What a surprise!

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