My husband answered the phone at our house the other day and when he said, "Yes, this is Kris," I could tell from his reluctant, halting tone of voice that he was talking to a telemarketer.
My hackles went up as Kris continued to humor the person on the other end of the line with a series of one-syllable answers. (My husband is a very patient, polite man: part of why I married him.)
Our phone number is on the national "do not call" list (click here to register) and has been for years. It seems like yesterday to me, as a consumer reporter, that the list was created. But turns out it has been 10 years.
So why was a telemarketer calling us? Here's what many people don't realize: There are exemptions for certain kinds of telemarketers:
• Charities seeking donations;
• Politicians seeking your vote;
• Companies with which you have an existing business relationship;
• Survey companies doing opinion polls.
Back to Kris' phone call. Finally, he interjected, "No, thank you" and managed to get off the line.
"Why don't you follow my advice?" I exploded at him. (I am not nearly as patient or polite as he is.)
I've told Kris -- and everyone I know -- a zillion times that, in addition to the National Do Not Call Registry, telemarketers must maintain an internal "do not call" list.
You should always say "please put me on your internal do not call list" when you don't want to hear from a company again. Fail to do so, and some other telemarketer from there will be bugging you in the future.
Many people instead blurt "take me off your list!" Reputable companies should recognize that as a request to be put on the internal "do not call" list, but slimy ones will use this imprecise wording against you and ignore your request.
I repeat, saying this simple line, "Please put me on your internal do not call list," should help screen out the exempted telemarketers who are still calling you and give you even more peace at suppertime.
If you like giving your opinion to pollsters, or being reminded to give to charities or vote for politicians, great, let 'em keep calling. If not, use the line.
Even if you have a business relationship with a company, you can use the line. Yes, you are a customer, but that doesn't mean you want them to call and try to sell you other services.
OK, speech over. I'm going to file this column for you, and email it to my husband!