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December 29, 2006

It Pays to Complain: National "Do Not Call" Registry Works!

You know this scenario: You sit down to a fine, lovingly-prepared steak dinner, your first in weeks of chicken and fish, eagerly anticipated and salivated-over. Your knife and fork stand poised over that delectable morsel cut from the soft side of the T-bone, and this happens- the phone rings.

What if it's work and the server crashed? Or what if it's the baby-sitter and she's crashed? Or any of a dozen other terrifying possibilities. So you put down said knife and fork and answer the damned phone. And it's Bellsouth, trying to sell you internet service you cancelled over a year ago. And this is not the first or the second or indeed even the third time they've done this dastardly deed.

Forget that every time you tell them politely you are not interested. Forget that each time you tell them "I'm on the National "Do Not Call" Registry so please do not call again." Forget that they ignored that and merely changed their caller-id to show 'Out of Area' instead of the telemarketer's number in Texas or wherever they used before you told them about the NDNCR. Forget that the telemarketer laughs that off and tries to continue with their marketing script until you hang up on them.

Forget all that until you get really, totally and completely pissed off. Then sic the FCC on their sorry asses.

Businesses don't like that because they get fined; it gets them in the pocketbook and the PR book. A dissatisfied customer tells many others, like now. So how to stop the madness? Keep some basic records. Date of calls, telemarketer's name, telephone number, company name they're plugging. If they're using 'Out of Area' on the caller id, note that as well (it's against the rules to do so). Then complain.

I thought, "Well that's that, another wasted email. " But I got a surprise about ten days later.

Bellsouth was on the horn, calling me to say that they had removed me (magically!) from their telemarketing lists and that it would take a few days for that to take effect. I have to say that our government really kept the ball running on this one. And I'm one grateful citizen. Now I can sit down to enjoy that juicy steak in peace, that is if the server doesn't crash.