Legal How-To: Stopping Telemarketers

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on March 04, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Do you know how to stop telemarketers from calling you? Adding your name to the National Do Not Call Registry is a simple and reasonably effective way to stop (or at the very least, significantly reduce) those pesky telemarketer phone calls.

There are also a couple of other ways to prevent telemarketer calls.

Here's an overview of how to get on the National Do Not Call registry and other ways to stop telemarketers:

  1. Sign up for the National Do-Not-Call Registry. On the National Do Not Call Registry's registration site, you can enter up to three phone numbers (home and personal cell phone numbers only) and your email address. Check your email for a message from Open the email and click on the link within 72 hours to complete your registration.
  2. Sign up for your state's registry, if there is one. In addition to the national registry, some states like Wisconsin have their own do-not-call lists for residents. Contact your state's public service commission or consumer protection office to see if your state has such a list, and to find out how to register your number or numbers.
  3. Sign up for the telemarketer's internal do-not-call list. National and state do-not-call lists don't apply to certain telemarketers such as charities seeking donations, politicians seeking your vote, companies with which you have an existing business relationship (for example, if you're a customer), and survey companies doing opinion polls. With the exception of tax-exempt non-profit organizations, these telemarketers still must maintain an internal "do not call" list. To stop receiving calls from these telemarketers, tell them "Please put me on your internal do not call list," ABC News suggests. You will need to repeat the request once every five years, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
  4. If you still receive telemarketing calls, take notes and file a complaint with the FTC. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file an FCC complaint or a Do Not Call Registry complaint. You probably can't get individual damages, but the offending company could receive warning citations and fines for violating the do-not-call rules. Filing a complaint is free.

For additional help, consider consulting a consumer protection attorney in your area.

Are you facing a legal issue you'd like to handle on your own? Suggest a topic for our Legal How-To series by sending us a tweet @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #HowTo.

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