If you’re like me, you view most of the sales offers you receive in the mail as a nuisance which adds to your recycling pile. Telemarketing calls present the unwelcome challenge of trying to politely end a conversation quickly with someone trying to sell something you don’t want.
You can greatly reduce your piles of junk mail and the number of telemarketing calls you receive by taking advantage of these three tools:
1. National Do Not Call Registry: The federal government offers a website where you can register your home and cell phone numbers to alert telemarketers that you don’t want their calls. Just go to the registration page, enter your phone numbers and email address, and then click on the confirmation links that arrive in your email inbox. Telemarketers then have 31 days to remove your numbers from their calling lists. If they call you after that time period passes, you can register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.donotcall.gov. Once a number is on the list, it remains there permanently—unless it is reassigned to a new customer after an account is closed.
2. Direct Marketing Association (DMA): Register on the DMA’s website, and you can choose which companies you wish to receive catalogs, magazine offers and other sales pitches from. There’s an option to block all offers, or you can select certain vendors from which you want to receive materials. Your marketing choices apply to the 3,600 companies that belong to the Direct Marketing Association and remain in effect for three years.
The DMA website also provides a link to a site maintained by the nation’s three leading credit bureaus—that site offers you the opportunity to stop receiving credit card and insurance offers.
- Important note: Keep in mind that companies you do business with can still send you catalogs and offers or place telemarketing calls to your number, even if you block them via the methods above. To stop receiving sales pitches from these businesses, you must contact the company directly and ask to be removed from its marketing lists. Also, calls from political organizations, charities and survey companies are not blocked by the “Do Not Call” list.
3. Privacy Notices: Pay close attention to those annual privacy notices you receive from companies you do business with. They may be mailed to you as a standalone document or be included in a billing statement. These notices offer you the opportunity to limit how your information is shared with affiliated companies who may solicit your business by phone or mail. Follow the steps outlined in the notice to limit the sharing of your information.