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Lake Geneva Chiropractic

Wisconsin's 'No Call' list includes cell phones

August 18, 2010 | 07:00 AM
Enjoying the absence of unwanted phone calls during dinner time? Be sure to re-register before Sept. 1, to continue the silence. Those not yet on Wisconsin's "no call list" can join the growing number of people across the state that have experienced a decrease in unwanted telemarketer calls since it went into effect Jan. 1, 2003. Since June 6, 2008, cell phone numbers are also eligible for the list.

The Wisconsin "No Call" list is a catalog of telephone numbers of Wisconsin residents who do not want to receive calls from telemarketers. There are currently more than 2.1 million households registered in Wisconsin, and approximately 43 percent are cell phone numbers. Residents can call or sign up on line, prohibiting telemarketers from calling their phone numbers that have been added to the list, with some exceptions.

Charities and survey or polling calls are exempt from the law, although if a charity or survey caller tries to sell a product, they are in violation of the law and a complaint should be filed. Also exempt are calls from companies with whom you currently do business, such as banks, phone companies, and credit card companies, though those companies may not call to sell you new products or services. Calls made in response to your written or verbal request or permission are also exempt.

This component of the law has given rise to complaints from some business owners who believe the law prevents some legitimate business practices. For example, an insurance agent is prohibited from calling a person on the no call list to offer car insurance if the person already insures their house with the company. The companies claim this practice, known as cross-selling, is a service they offer their customers, and the No Call list banning these kinds of calls hurts customers as well as businesses.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), violations of Wisconsin's no call law have decreased over the last couple years. One reason for fewer complaints may be decreased violations due to strict enforcement. DATCP has sent more than 4,200 cease and desist letters to unregistered telephone solicitors advising them to stop soliciting in Wisconsin. Additionally, DATCP's enforcement action includes approximately 2,014 warning letters since the No Call law was enacted in 2003.

If you have already signed up for the Wisconsin No Call list and are still receiving unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers, DATCP would like you to do the following. First, if you have caller ID, write down the phone number from which they are dialing. It is illegal for a telemarketer to block Caller ID. Second, get the name of the company and/or the telemarketing firm who is calling. Third, ask the telemarketer for their Wisconsin telemarketing license number. Finally, try to get the manager's phone number and an address. Make sure to record the date and time the call was made and fill out the No Call Complaint questionnaire which is located at the DATCP website.

The Wisconsin DATCP is the agency responsible for investigating violations of the Wisconsin no call list. Consumers with questions or complaints should call (800) 422-7128. Wisconsin intends to prosecute telemarketers who don't obey the law, and complaints are key to enforcement.

If you have already signed up, you may want to re-register on the no call list. The law requires registered individuals to contact the state every two years who wish to remain on the list. The list is updated quarterly, the next deadline to re-register is Sept. 1, and if you enjoy those peaceful evenings, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. You may sign up or re-register online at https://nocall.wisconsin.gov or call toll-free, 24-hours a day (866) 966-2255.

Kedzie can be reached in Madison at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707-7882, or by calling toll-free (800) 578-1457. He may be reached in the district at (262) 742-2025 or online at www.senatorkedzie.com.

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Walworth County