CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: How the Do Not Call list works and on how to get on it
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Justice is taking action against illegal auto warranty robocalls.
You’ve likely received one of these calls. They claim that you need to renew or extend your auto service contract or warranty. For the past two years, these calls were the top unwanted call complaint filed by consumers with the FCC.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice filed a civil enforcement action against New Jersey-based firm N.C.W.C for allegedly violating the Do Not Call List. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul the company is responsible for hundreds of thousands of telemarketing calls pitching extended vehicle warranties.
“Over a million calls were placed,” Kaul says. “Hundreds of thousands of those went to people on the Do Not Call Registry who were not supposed to be contacted.”
According to the DOJ, the company pitched warranties without registering as a telemarketer in Wisconsin. That’s illegal.
To sign up for the Do Not Call Registry, go to the website donotcall.gov and you can enter up to three phone numbers--including cell phone numbers.
When you sign up, you’re protected by federal and state do not call telemarketing laws.
Michael Domke is director of the Wisconsin Bureau of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. He says Do Not Call registries do not stop all marketing calls. Some businesses and organizations are allowed to legally call you.
“It is a lifetime registration but there are certain exemptions to that Do Not Call which often people aren’t aware of,” says Domke. “Especially in this year they’re going to see more calls from people marketing campaign solicitations.”
“Other areas are if you have an established business relationship established with that particular company, they’re allowed to call you. If you’ve given consent in a previous conversation they’re allowed to call you, and most importantly the tax exempt or nonprofits. So you have churches, political campaigns, things like that, they’re allowed to call even if you have your number registered. And a lot of times people don’t realize that.”
Violators continue to call. Last year, Wisconsinites filed more than 2,700 complaints about unwanted calls and texts--making it the state’s top consumer complaint.
“Our top category really has two different areas. The first is what we’ve talked about with the Do Not Call list and telemarketers, calling them even though they’ve registered their numbers and the other one is scams and fraudulent activity and attempts to get their personal information,” says Domke.
“We really discourage everyone from pushing that one, pushing the nine in the one you just provided. That’s going to lead the path of either receiving more phone calls or potentially lead them into scams or give access to the phone. We encourage everyone, top thing you do, just hang up.”
To report illegal telemarketing calls, call the State Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128.
“By giving us that information, it allows us both to identify that number and we track trends and patterns if it turns into something we need to look into further we can now build a case with that number they’re providing,” says Domke.
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