Dear Consumer Ed: 

I received a call from an individual informing me I could request a checkup on my credit card that would provide secure assurance that my credit card was not at risk.  The caller then inquired about my credit card debt.  I told him I did not have any credit card debt, to which he replied, “We have nothing to offer you” and ended the conversation.  I received another call from an individual who asked if I was a homeowner.  Before answering, I asked for the company’s phone number, which the caller claimed not to have handy before ending the call.  I have been on the “Do Not Call List” for a long time and thought this was a Federal Law.  Why are these calls not blocked?

Consumer Ed says:

You are correct:  There is a federal Do Not Call Registry, which is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission.  If your number is on the “No Call” registry, a caller who contacts you is guilty of violating the law if:

  • The call was made at least 31 days after the date you registered your phone number;
  • The reason for the call was to solicit you to buy, rent or invest in property, goods or services.  Remember:  Calls from charities, political organizations and telephone surveyors are exempt from the “No Call" law;
  • You (or a member of your household) do not have a prior or current business or personal relationship with the company that is calling.  This means that if you entered into any kind of transaction (purchases, applications, inquiries, entering contests, etc.) with a company within the past 18 months, that company is not violating the No Call law if it calls you.  If the transaction was further back, or if you’ve never done business with the company, it may not contact you without your permission.

Both of the calls you received appear to justify a complaint.  To file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), call 888-382-1222 or visit donotcall.gov.  In each complaint include your name, address, and as much of the following information as you have:  the phone number that was called; the approximate date that number was registered; the date the call was made; the telephone number from which the telemarketer called; the name of the caller; the company’s name; and the type of service mentioned in the solicitation.

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