Donate Today

Tell Telemarketers "Do Not Call" - Author Offers Other Remedies

Santa Monica, CA -- More than one million Californians have signed up for the State of California's "Do Not Call" list, which is a list of phone numbers telemarketers cannot contact without facing an $11,000 fine.

1.08 million individuals registered 1.9 million phone numbers since April as "off limits" to corporate phone solicitations -- charities and religious entities are exempted. The list goes in effect in October.

Consumer activist Jamie Court -- who according to Publisher's Weekly is "keeping the muckraking tradition alive" with his new book Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom And What You Can Do About It -- claimed the list's success shows the public is willing to fight back when corporations prioritize their gain over the individual's and society's, what he calls "corporateering."

Court hopes to introduce the word into popular discourse to give the public a way to articulate inappropriate intrusions in their public and private lives.

"The public is awake to the fact that corporations steal more than our money, but need for more facilities to fight back," said Court, also executive director of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "One million Californians in two months have taken a critical stand that telemarketers around the nation must respect, 'Do Not Call.' Word of mouth is what corporations want most and fear most, the public should use it to protect their privacy, legal recourse, personal security and other freedoms large corporations often threaten."

Court provides in book ways people around the nation can join Californians in countering corporateering, including the following steps.

1. Tell a corporation, "Do Not Call." Next time a telemarketer calls, just say, "Put me on your do not call list." Corporations are required under law to have such lists and to pay $500 every time they call someone on them. If they keep calling, collect $500 for each violation. Many states have also developed "Do Not Call" lists that individuals can sign up for and corporations have to respect.

2. "Opt out." Send a corporation the following note that you "Opt Out" of their system of sharing your private financial information:

I am asserting my rights under the Financial Services Modernization Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act to "opt out" of the following two uses of my personal information:

  • Do not disclose personally identifiable information with your non-affiliated third-party companies or individuals.
  • Do not disclose my creditworthiness to any affiliate.
  • Further, I request, even though it may not be required by law, that you: (1) Do not disclose my transaction and experience information to any affiliate of yours; and (2) Do not disclose any information about me in connection with marketing agreements between you and any other company.

I would appreciate written confirmation of these requests.

3. Change a corporate contract. Corporations typically require individuals to sign long, standardized contracts that often have repugnant clauses, such as a waiver of the right to trial, in the fine print. Next time you are presented with such a contract, read it and cross out the objectionable provisions before you sign. No corporations can force you to sign a contract. Individuals have a right to negotiate that they rarely use.

4. Stop corporate junk faxes. A federal law makes it illegal to send an unsolicited commercial advertisement to a fax machine from anywhere in the U.S.A. People who receive junk faxes have the right to recover at least $500 per fax. In most cases, the law authorizes courts to award up to $1,500 per fax. For how to stop junk faxes and a sample complaint see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/other/fs/fs001543.php3.

5. Challenge a corporation. When the corporation upsets you, put your gripe in writing to the corporation, to a regulator, or to the media. The corporation may or may not want to change, but the letter memorializes your problem. If you want to make anyone nervous, particularly a corporation, put something serious about them in writing.

For more information visit www.corporateering.org or www.consumerwatchdog.org

- 30 -