Celebrating Five Years of Peace from Telemarketers
By Attorney General Roy Cooper
If you’ve noticed more peace and quiet during dinner time these past few years, you’re not alone. Millions of North Carolinians are enjoying more evenings without unwanted calls from telemarketers thanks to the Do Not Call Registry, which celebrates its five year anniversary this month. Nearly five million North Carolina telephone numbers have been placed on the Registry since it started in July of 2003.
If you haven’t joined the Registry yet, it’s easy to sign up. To add your home and cell phone numbers to the list, just call 1-888-382-1222 from the number you’d like to register. You can also sign up online as long as you have an active email address by visiting www.donotcall.gov
Once you’ve registered, companies have 30 days to remove your number from their call list and stop calling you. Joining the Registry will significantly cut your telemarketing calls. Just ask your friends and neighbors who’ve already put their numbers on the list.
The Do Not Call Registry does not apply to business numbers. And while it stops most home and cell phone telemarketing calls, there are a few exceptions in the current laws. For example, companies with which you already do business, like your bank or phone company, are allowed to call you. To stop those calls, simply ask the business to put you on its internal Do Not Call list. If they don’t stop calling you then, call us.
Nonprofits, polling firms and political groups are also allowed to call. When election time rolls around, I know how frustrating it can be to get call after call with recorded messages urging you to vote for one candidate or another. That’s why I’ve told our state legislators and Congress that they need to change the laws so that people who are on the Do Not Call Registry don’t get these political robo calls. I’ve also called on candidates currently running for office not to place robo calls to people who are on the Registry.
Once you’ve joined the Do Not Call Registry, or asked a particular company or organization to put you on their internal no-call list, let my office know if the calls keep coming
. Since the Registry started, we’ve taken action against dozens of telemarketers who weren’t respecting your wishes, winning more than $1 million in judgments against them.
For example, we were able to shut down illegal telemarketing calls from a satellite television company that kept calling people, including a North Carolina hospital that got more than 400 pre-recorded calls from the company in just two days.
So let us know about telemarketers who violate the Do Not Call Registry by calling my Consumer Protection Division
toll-free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. With your help, we’ll help keep the peace and quiet coming for many more years.
Attorney General Roy Cooper and his staff are working to educate consumers and protect them from scams. We are here to be of service when you need us at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM, but through consumer education efforts like these columns we hope to help consumers avoid problems from the start.