The Telemarketing Terminator

Telemarketers seem to target anyone with an active phone number, and their annoying and untimely solicitation calls are usually as appreciated as a fellow movie-goer chewing popcorn with his mouth open. “I’m not interested” might buy you a month or two of respite, but telemarketers seem to use Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous catchphrase, “I’ll be bawck…” as their unstated selling motto. Their business model, after all, is simply a numbers game: if they call (bug?) enough people, a few might take the bait.

This problem disproportionately affects senior citizens because publicly available phone numbers are usually home phone numbers. According to a recent government study, more than 4 in 10 households have cut the cord—the landline telephone cord, that is. Still, and not surprisingly, seniors over the age of 65 are far more likely to own and use a landline telephone as compared to younger folk, with over 85% of seniors’ homes still attached to their corded phones (pun very much intended).

The Colorado Telemarketing No-Call Law, in concert with federal laws, gives some relief to Colorado seniors—and indeed, everyone who owns a phone and dislikes telemarketing calls. Under Colorado law, home phone and wireless phone customers can place their numbers on a “No Call List” free of charge. Telemarketers are prohibited from calling your number if it is on this list, unless they have an “established business relationship” with you. (Charities and other non-commercial organizations, however, are not subject to the Colorado No-Call Law.) Additionally, federal Telemarketing Sales Rules give you the right to tell companies that have an established business relationship with you to still put you on their internal “Do Not Call” lists.

You can sign up for the Colorado no-call list by calling (800) 309-7041, or registering online at www.coloradonocall.com. For further protection, add your home or cell phone numbers to the national Do Not Call list at www.donotcall.gov, or by calling (888) 382-1222. If telemarketers continue to call you, report them to the Attorney General or your district attorney’s office. You can even sue offending telemarketers in Small Claims Court under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act if you are on the No Call List.

These laws protect consumers from intrusive telemarketing solicitations, and by availing yourself of the Do Not Call Lists, say good-bye…er, “hasta la vista, baby” (a la Schwarzenegger) to the telemarketers contacting you!

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