Blowing the whistle on telemarketers: Too harsh of an approach?

Blowing the whistle on telemarketers: Too harsh of an approach?

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by BILL MCGINTY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @billwcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 12:39 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- They are annoying. They seem to come at all hours of the day. They’re robo-calls and telemarketers. They won’t stop.

It’s such a big problem for Janice that she says she researched the “Do Not Call List”. 
Janice says, “Yes, I’m on it-- my home phone and my cell phone, but I still get them.” 
Janice decided to fight back against those annoying robo-calls and telemarketers by grabbing her coach's whistle and letting the caller have it loud and clear!  
“The first couple of times I did that, it just drove them crazy... They swear,” Janice exclaimed, "'B****! (laughs) You b****! You burst my ear drums,' That’s the general idea, don’t call again,” she tells the unwanted caller.

Some might feel it’s a bit over the top, but Janice makes a good point when she says, “Just who is the antagonizer? I’m not calling anyone, it’s them calling and harassing me!”
As of this year, 217 million phone numbers are registered on the do not call list, people like you and Janice who are just hoping to stop those unwanted and intrusive calls.
Here in North Carolina, area code 704 has the most numbers registered on Do Not Call list, and since 2008, 704 led the state with 63,317 complaints for violations. 

In fact, last year, Do Not Call violations were the top consumer complaint to Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office in Raleigh. The other area codes with the high complaints in North Carolina are 919 with 21,641, followed by 828 13,051. In just the first nine months of 2012, the FTC logged almost four million complaints.
Cooper says, “We have even seen situations where they (robo-calls) tie up your phone lines; it is very frustrating for consumers.” The Federal Trade Commission says it’s working the problem. The FTC says most legitimate businesses do adhere to the Do Not Call list, and it’s important for you to know that the violators are usually scam artists looking to steal your personal information.
Cooper adds, “Many of them make these calls just hoping to get someone and when they do, they know they have a good number”.
The FTC sent NBC Charlotte the following statement:

The FTC has taken action against dozens and dozens of companies and telemarketers for Do Not Call violations and illegal robo-calls with more cases in the works. You can see lists of recent cases for both topics here: http://ftc.gov/opa/reporter/donotcall/index.shtml.  In addition to aggressive law enforcement, the FTC hosted a robocall summit last October with industry, policymakers, technology experts and others to discuss solutions. The Commission also unveiled the FTC Robo-call Challenge, which is a public seeking a technical solution to block illegal robocalls and expects to announce any winners next month: www.robocall.challenge.gov. We’ve also set up a honey pot to collect information on robo-calls that come in and to act as quickly as possible on them.   When consumers get illegal robocalls, they should hang up and not engage the calls at all. Do not press one to speak to anyone or to get removed from the list as this may lead to more calls. If they can, file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov.  
You can put up to five of your phone numbers on the Do Not Call list, including cell phones. Business numbers are exempt.  And, based on this story, we should remind you to never give your credit card or bank account information to anyone asking for it on the phone. 
While Attorney General Roy Cooper is amused by Janice’s whistling into the phone, he says, “That won’t likely work because she is just confirming that a live person is on the phone.”
Janice says, “It’s satisfaction!”

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