State Considers "No Call" List

By: Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick
By: Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick

Michigan lawmakers have taken a first step towards the creation of a "No Call" law. A legislative panel has approved a bill that would limit the number of solicitation calls people receive.

The legislation would allow charities, political groups and public safety organizations to continue calling people, even if their names are on the list. Also, companies could make calls to current customers or anyone who would give prior approval for solicitation calls.

Even though it doesn't stop all calls, it would greatly reduce the number of calls.

Either the Michigan Public Service Commission, or an outside contractor would establish the "No Call" list.

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What is Telemarketing

  • The legal definition varies slightly from place to place, but in general, telemarketing involves situations in which companies call consumers to sell their goods or services, or consumers call companies to make purchases in response to mailings or other forms of advertising.

  • While there are many legitimate companies that use the telephone for marketing, consumers lose an estimated $40 billion a year through telemarketing fraud.

  • It's sometimes hard to distinguish between reputable telemarketers and criminals who are using the phone for fraudulent purposes.

Here are some tips to tell the difference between the good and the bad, and some general tips

  • Do business with those you know and trust. (If you aren't familiar with the company, ask for information to be sent to you about the products or services it's offering.)

  • Understand the offer. ( Be sure you know who and where the company is and how to reach it, what is being sold, the total price, the delivery date, the return and cancellation policy, and the terms of any guarantee. )

  • Check out the company's track record. (Ask your state or local consumer protection agency if the company has to be licensed or registered, and with whom, and check to see if it is.)

  • Be careful to whom you give your financial or other personal information. (Don't provide your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, social security number or other personal information unless you know the company is legitimate and the information is necessary for the transaction.)

  • Take your time to decide. (While there may be time limits for special offers, high-pressure sales tactics are often danger signs of fraud.)

  • Resist pressure to send your payment by private courier, wire transmission or overnight delivery. (These tactics are sometimes used to prevent you from changing your mind and to avoid law enforcement authorities such as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.)

  • Don't enter contests or other games of chance unless you know the company or organization sponsoring them. ( Fraudulent telemarketers often get lists of potential victims from entry forms for free trips or other prizes that consumers drop in boxes at fairgrounds or shopping centers, and from responses to mailings for sweepstakes, contests and puzzles.)

  • You do have some control over who calls you. (Under federal law, you can tell a telemarketer not to call again.)

  • You can reduce unwanted calls. ( Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association's Telephone Preference Service. DMA member companies that participate in this industry-sponsored program will put you on their "do not call" lists.)

  • Don't be shy about hanging up. ( Your phone is just like the door to your home or apartment. You don't have to open it or invite people in, and you can ask guests to leave at any time. )

Source: http://www.fraud.org/telemarketing/teleinfo.htm (National Fraud Information Center Web site)


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