Most Telemarketing Calls are Illegal — Here’s What You Can Do About It
Jersey residents continue to be bombarded by an increasing number of telemarketer calls at all hours of the day and night.
Turns out most of these calls are being made in violation of federal law.
According to Janice Kopec, the program coordinator for the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call registry, if you have put your phone number on the federal Do Not Call registry, telemarketers should not be calling you. However, there are a couple of exceptions.
“One exception is if you have given that telemarketer express prior written consent,” she said.
“The other exception is if you have a business relationship with a seller. For instance, if you’ve just bought something or made a purchase, then a company can contact you for up to 18 months.”
“If you decide you’re sick and tired of being contacted, you can say do not call me again, and they cannot call you again.”
She said if you’ve done business with a company, they are usually not allowed to give your contact information to another firm or a subsidiary company.
“You should not be getting a call from somebody that you’re not expecting to get a call from. If you do business with company A then they’re allowed to contact you, but if you have a relationship with company A and they farm out their information to their affiliate, that call would not be OK."
Kopec pointed out New Jersey has its own stringent Do Not Call rules, but they don’t have a separate registry for consumers.
“They rely on folks in New Jersey registering their number of the national Do Not Call registry, so it’s one-stop shopping.”
The state Do Not Call law bars telemarketers who have not registered with the state Division of Consumer Affairs from contacting residents, and it prohibits all telemarketer calls between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
The law imposes fines of up to $10,000 for a first violation, and up to $20,000 for additional offenses.
She said if you live in the Garden State and want your number on the Do Not Call list “you go to donotcall.gov, register your number there, and that is going to get you all of the additional protections that you would get under the New Jersey Do Not Call rules.”
If you get an illegal telemarketer call, or a constant barrage of illegal calls, you can file a Federal Trade Commission complaint at donotcall.gov.
She said the FTC aggressively enforces the rules and “we’ve brought over 133 law enforcement actions against people who violate the Do Not Call rules.”