I get calls from telemarketers daily.
Over dinner I mentioned to friends that I get telemarketing calls from robots pretending to be real people. To my surprise, they didn’t know what I was talking about. I can’t say whether or not there is a real human on the other side pushing buttons to make this robot respond, but it’s definitely a recorded voice trying to dupe me into thinking it’s actually a real person.
Do they think I’m stupid?
It must fool some people but it doesn’t food me. I like to mess with these robots just for fun. If there really is a person on the other end controlling the responses, I’d like to think I’m making them sweat a little when trying to figure out how to react to my comments. There’s probably a recording somewhere of the time I told the robot I couldn’t talk because I had a wicked case of diarrhea. Maybe instead of making them sweat, I just give them a good laugh. Either way I don’t want any part of whatever security system or health insurance plan they want to sell me.
Listen to this great example of someone calling out a robot.
I found this audio clip when reading this great article in Time magazine about the infamous robot you just heard named Samantha West.
I always ask them to take me off their list and they always hang up on me immediately.
Today I got fed up and started looking for a solution. I probably get 2-3 calls a day from telemarketers and it’s annoying. They call during work, during a movie, or other inconvenient times. On June 27, 2003, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened the National Do Not Call Registry in order to comply with the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003 . Since January 1, 2005, telemarketers have up to 31 days from the date a number is registered to cease calling that number. Originally, phone numbers remained on the registry for a period of five years, but are now permanent because of the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, effective February 2008. 
I had heard of the Do Not Call list but had never registered.
Today was the day. So I went to their site and registered. You have to enter your phone number and email address, and then confirm using the link they send to your email. That whole process literally took 60 seconds. Only time will tell whether or not this truly works, but I have faith that it will. As stated above, the telemarketers have 31 days to comply, so it will be about a month before I can report back to you with results.
Many people are plagued by debt collectors too.
When my wife and I were young and she lived with her parents, their house phone would ring and ring. It was against the rules to answer because it was likely a debt collector on the other side. That’s no way to live your life. I’m all about paying off your debts and people getting the money they rightfully deserve, but I know debt collectors can be nasty. They’ll say whatever it takes to get an emotional reaction out of you, in which case you should ignore them.
The Do Not Call list doesn’t stop debt collectors from contacting you, but there is another way.
According to the law, if a company has a reason to contact you they are allowed to do so. Collecting a debt falls into that category. However, the law also states that a debt collector must stop contacting you if you ask them to stop. At that point, the only further communication they are allowed to have with you is to confirm that they are going to stop, or to contact you in regard to legal action they are going to take. If you want to avoid talking to them on the phone completely, you can also write to the debt collector asking them to stop contacting you. This site provides you with some great templates.
Here’s a little about their enforcement
The FTC takes aggressive legal action to make sure telemarketers abide by the Do Not Call Registry. To date, the Commission has brought 105 enforcement actions against companies and telemarketers for Do Not Call, abandoned call, robocall and Registry violations. The Mortgage Investors litigation produced the largest settlement for Do Not Call violations, resulting in civil penalty payments of $7.5 million. To date, 80 of these FTC enforcement actions have been resolved, and in those cases the agency has recovered over $41 million in civil penalties and $33 million in redress or disgorgement.
Sign up for the Do Not Call list here.
Other ways to avoid harassment
I also wrote an article on how to stop getting junk mail and credit card applications sent to your home. This actually work! Imagine no telemarketers, debt collectors, creditors, or marketers contact you through mail or phone. Doesn’t it seem like that’s how it should have always been? Instead you have to register to not be harassed. It is what it is… but it’s time to stop wasting time and energy dealing with these people. Take 5 minutes to register to these lists and free yourself from these daily burdens.