It never fails -- you've finally gotten your entire family to sit down at the dinner table for the first time all week, or you're at the best part of a great movie, or you're about to get romantic with your hubby, or you're in the shower but expecting an important call... and it turns out to be a telemarketer.
We've been known to utter an obscenity or two on such occasions. Here's how to handle such nuisances once and for all:
Register your number on the Federal Do Not Call (DNC) list. Go to their website -- donotcall.gov -- or give them a call at 888-382-1222. You can register home, business and mobile numbers.
This will stop a lot of unsolicited calls, but keep in mind that if you give a business your number -- even inadvertently -- they have the right to call you for a period of time even if you are on the DNC list.
Ask them to knock it off. If an unwanted telemarketer gets you on the phone, say these magic words: "Please remove me from every list you have." Do not just ask to be removed from "the" list or "your" list, because companies often maintain more than one.
If you have caller ID, use it. A telemarketer is now required to transmit/display its phone number and (if available) the company's name. The display must include a phone number that you can call during regular business hours to ask that the company no longer call you. (Before these rules took effect, the FCC notes that the words "private," "out of area," or "unavailable" might have appeared on the Caller ID display.) Sometimes your phone will display something like "800 Service" or "Sales call."
Voila -- quiet dinner!
Note: If you don't want to get off every list -- or don't have the time to fight -- just cut them off at any point in their spiel with, "I'm not interested, thanks," and hang up. Don't wait for a response.
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