Telephone Solicitations, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Public Services II
Consumer Issues

Telephone Solicitations
If you have a telephone number, even if it is not listed in the telephone book, you might receive annoying telephone calls from people trying to sell you something. These calls often come at about dinnertime, an hour when the telephone solicitation companies judge you are most likely to be home. A key indication that a call is a commercial solicitation is if the telephone rings, you answer, and no one comes to the line for several seconds.

If you do not like these calls, you have a right to request that the company or charity not call you ever again. Be clear and forceful and make sure they understand that you request no further calls. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, however, you are not required to say anything; just quietly hang up the telephone. The solicitor will probably go on to the next call rather than call you back. Standards of politeness do not force you to apologize; just end the call.

The National Do Not Call Registry is a service provided by the Federal Trade Commission that allows you to register your telephone number in a central database in order to reduce the number of unsolicited calls you receive. Commercial telemarketers may not call your registered telephone number, but political organizations, charities, survey takers, and companies with which you already do business may still legally call you.


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