Are telemarketers driving you nuts?

Are telemarketers driving you nuts? Relax, your cell phone number is not about to go public

Are you tired of receiving calls from telemarketers?  Consider putting your number on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL).  This list gives consumers a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls. The National DNCL Rules introduce new responsibilities for Canada’s telemarketers.

If you are a consumer you can choose to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive by registering your residential, wireless, fax or VoIP telephone number on the National DNCL.

However, do not expect calls to stop immediately.  Telemarketers have up to 31 days to update their lists and to make sure they do not call you. You could still receive calls within those first 31 days.

Also, registering on the National DNCL will not eliminate all telemarketing calls. There are exemptions within the Rules that may allow calls from organizations such as charities, those with whom you have existing business relationships, political parties and newspapers.

You can further reduce unwanted telemarketing calls by asking these organizations to place your number(s) on their own do not call list.

Every Canadian telemarketer is required to maintain such a list and respect your wishes not to be called.

Organizations conducting market research, surveys, or public opinion polls are not required to keep their own specific do not call lists.

Even if your telephone number is on the National DNCL, you may still receive fraudulent telemarketing calls. That’s why it’s important to always be on your guard.

If you receive a call that you think may be fraudulent, contact your local police or PhoneBusters (1-888-495-8501), a national anti-fraud service jointly operated by the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Competition Bureau.

There has been the occasional email floating around in cyber-space, claiming that all cell phone numbers are soon to be released and that once released you can expect to receive telemarketing calls on your cell.  This rumor has been circulating continuously since September 2004. Despite a small grain of truth at its core, it’s mostly false, misleading, and outdated.

Here’s what you need to know:  Yes, you can add your cell phone number(s) to the National Do Not Call Registry.  No, you won’t suddenly be at the mercy of 10,000 telemarketers if you don’t.

Contrary to what’s claimed in the emails, cell phone numbers aren’t about to “go public.”  It’s true that a few years back several of the major wireless providers announced a plan to establish a universal cell phone directory, but the plan did not consist of simply publishing everyone’s cell phone numbers for the world to see, nor were the numbers to be “released to telemarketers”.

The directory was to be made available only via telephone, only to those who dialed directory assistance and paid a fee, and only with individual wireless customers’ consent.However, in 2006 the wireless directory plan was permanently shelved.

While you can register your cell with the National DNCL, it may not be necessary – per FCC regulations, telemarketers are already prohibited from using automatic dialers to call up mobile phones.

If you want to put your number on the National DNCL, go to www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca and follow the directions.