Why is this limited to just telemarketers? Debt collectors, campaigners, and non-profits need included.
I kept getting hammered by an automated call only leaving a number to call back.. A Google search turned up the number belonged to a collection agency in Chicago. They were hammering stale cases and my new number from a move just happend to be one of the numbers they had. I even had it happen after I moved since my number was associated with the address of the house I USED to live in two years ago. The call was for the owner who lived there before me!
I called them and told them to put me on their DNC list. They informed me that they were exempt as they were not telemarketers. I have had the same thing happen to me many times and to friends and family as well. Here is the 411 for you:
1) They ARE exempt from all telemarketing laws. Everyone likes to bring that up on the phone, but they are actually right.
2) So what now? They are still not exempt from basic laws governing harassment. You could deal with your phone company or talk to a supervisor of the debt collection agency and threaten a lawsuit if they keep calling you, or you could just go to….
3) Deal with them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They MUST inform of you their mailing address and the appropriate department. Send them a typed letter explaining that you are not the person they keep asking for, you have no knowledge of this person any debts this person has. Demand that all communications to that number cease immediately or you will seek remedies under the FDCPA.
Believe it or not, this works every time under the FDCPA. The reason why is that 99.9% of the people complain on the phone where the debt collection agency is not liable. Hardly anyone ever writes a letter. Write the letter, it will stop. If it does not.. you have a $5,000 dollar insta-claim in a small claims court of your choice.
People are absolutely wrong about somebody deserving to be harassed by debt collectors. Nobody EVER deserves to be harassed under any circumstances. That is why there are large awards in civil court cases for collection agencies with too much “zeal”.
I had clearly indicated I was not the party they were looking for (does my name even sound like “Susan”?). Any calls that occur after this are, by definition, harassment. Now this harassment is not necessarily fully written out under the aforementioned FDCPA, but it does not have to be. This is no different than any other person or company repeatedly calling a random person after being asked to stop.
As you can see from the FDCPA, even IF the debt collection agency is calling the right person there are still rules governing their ability to call them after being asked to stop. You might want to look at:
Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity
Furthermore, at any time a person may send a letter to the collection agency asking that all telephone communications cease. Afterwards, the collection agency may only send letters to the person updating them on any actions being taken towards the debt.
CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except-- (1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector's further efforts are being terminated; (2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or (3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.
If all else fails, fix it yourself with Asterisk. Numbers not on the white list are dumped into recorded phone tree maze with endless loops of meaningless choices and no way out except to hang up. It would be even better with a plugin that could try and string them on for a while without actually divulging any meaningful information by responding at pauses with phrases like “that sounds interesting”, “uh-huh”, and “I’m not sure” the goal being to waste as much of the telemarketer’s time as possible on a dead end call (i.e. no sale) before they hang up in frustration.