Loophole Found In Do Not Call Law

March 8, 2008 – 2:46 PM

This past July, the US Federal Trade Commission began accepting phone numbers for the national Do Not Call list. The Do Not Call list is supposed to shield frustrated citizens from receiving annoying telemarketing phone calls. It is illegal for a telemarketer to call a telephone number listed on this data base in most cases.The advertising industry is fighting a knock-down, drag-out fight in Federal Court to block the use of the list. The first day the FTC began accepting the phone numbers of consumers, so many millions of people tried to sign up at the same time that it crippled the Do Not Call web site. So many citizens are expected eventually to sign up to the list that the telemarketing industry will be in danger of dying out. This is something that many citizens would welcome after years, or even decades, of telephone abuse.

The list is not absolute however. Placing your number on the national Do Not Call Registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. You still may receive calls from political organizations, charities, or telephone surveyors. Additionally, a company with which you have purchased a product or service may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or delivery from it, or your last payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again [source]. Companies also may call you if you give them permission to do so.

Remember the “slamming” controversy from several years ago? People filling out and returning sweepstakes cards to win various prizes failed to notice a clause in the fine print. By returning the cards and signing them, people unwittingly were giving written permission to the company listed on the card to change their long-distance service.

It would seem the advertising industry remembers this distasteful tactic and have adopted it for themselves. People are starting to report receiving junk mail offering prizes or asking you to vote for your favorite product or TV celebrity. Buried in the fine print is the following: “By completing this form, you agree that sponsors and co-sponsors of this offer may telephone you , even if your number is found on a do not call registry or list”. Anyone returning these cards are signing away their protection from telemarketers.

Please be careful to read the fine print on anything which requires your signature. Be careful not to return these cards, no matter how tempting the prize advertised is. Please spread the word about them among your friends and family so that they will not sign away their rights accidently.

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