How to stop automated telemarketing calls

Written by christina riopelle
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How to stop automated telemarketing calls
Reduce unwelcome calls with a few simple steps. (woman with headset image by TAlex from

Telemarketing companies use automated dialers in an effort to reach a maximum amount of consumers at once. When the you pick up the call, you hear a few seconds of silence before a live person greets you. If the dialer reaches an answering machine, the automated system hangs up, or leaves a pre-recorded message. The National Do Not Call Registry reduces unsolicited telemarketer calls, but it does not eliminate them. Charitable organisations, political causes and companies that the consumer has done business with in the past are exempt from the law. Register with the National Do Not Call Registry, as well as take additional precautions to keep your ringer quiet.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Dial 1-888-382-1222 from your home phone or from the number you wish to place on the "do not call" list. If you use a teletype machine, dial 866-290-4236.

  2. 2

    Follow the prompts. Press "1" for English or "2" for Spanish. Then, select option "1" to register your phone number. Enter the number when prompted. If you call from a rotary phone, say the digits of your phone number when prompted.

  3. 3

    Wait 31 days for the information to circulate to telemarketing companies. If you receive an unwanted telemarketing call after this period, file a complaint at, or the toll-free number. Report the name and number of the offending company as it appears on your caller ID.

    How to stop automated telemarketing calls
    Wait 31 days for the registry to work. (calendar image by Christopher Hall from
  1. 1

    Read the fine print before entering a drawing. The fishbowl at a company's trade show or mall booth collects hopeful winners of new window shutters. The company also uses the information to start a mailing or call list. Verbiage on the entry form should indicate that contact is for winner notification only. If not, only enter if you truly welcome future contact.

    How to stop automated telemarketing calls
    Do not print your phone number on raffle tickets. (red ticket image by Rick Sargeant from
  2. 2

    Fill in your e-mail address as preferred contact method on entry forms and surveys. Do not enter your phone number.

  3. 3

    Contact companies that you no longer do regular business with. Remove yourself from their calling list.

  4. 4

    Use caller ID. According to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, "Telemarketers must transmit caller ID information and are prohibited from blocking caller ID information." Offending numbers may appear as an unfamiliar business name, "Telemarketer" or "Service Message." Simply do not answer the phone.

  5. 5

    Block telemarketing numbers. Follow instructions from your phone carrier to block individual numbers. Reserve this for repeat offenders, due to its tedious nature. Call centres may use a block of numbers. You may not receive a call from the same one twice.

Tips and warnings

  • The FTC prohibits pre-recorded telemarketing messages unless the receiver specifically permits them from a company, regardless of prior relationship. Informational message that do not specifically sell a product or service are exempted.

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