Saturday, August 16, 2008

Do Not Call Should Mean Do Not Call At All

The National Do Not Call Registry is a great thing because it allows you to block telemarketers from calling. But there are limitations. One can still receive calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors, and companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those where you’ve provided consent in writing to receive their calls.

My personal feeling is that Do Not Call should mean just that – DO NOT CALL. Period. I can understand a company that you have a business relationship with you calling in the normal course of doing business. But I don't know why politicians get a free pass to annoy me by phone. I wrote in my blog (here) back in February about one company making annoying political calls, and with the upcoming presidential election, I sense the political calls are going to ramp up exponentially as we get closer to Election Day.

Frankly, I don’t want to hear from any of them.

During the primaries, I received calls – prerecorded and automated, of course – from Hillary Clinton and John McCain. I don’t recall getting a phone call from Barack Obama but that actually worked in his favor for me. The calls from Clinton and McCain were left on my answering machine (I screen all my calls), which allowed me to either listen to them or just delete them, depending on my mood. But I have to admit the fact that they even called me and made an attempt to interrupt my day actually lowered my opinion of them. Also, John McCain’s message sounded like he’d just woken up and hadn’t had any coffee yet. It was dull, stiff, and lifeless. I felt like the life force was being sucked out of me as I listed to the message.

And the fact that many politicians are using electronic autodialers to do the work for them – sometimes called “robocalls” - it’s made the political call even more worthless. Sure, by using autodialers they can reach more people in less time, but it’s also the phone equivalent of email spam. It’s just some electronic method of dumping junk, this time on your ears.

So while the Do Not Call registry has helped to cut down on those annoying people trying to sell you something you don’t want, it still has allowed what I call phone spam – telespam? – from people you don’t want to hear from.

I wish that the Do Not Call registry was sophisticated enough to allow you to select – or deselect – groups of people you don’t want to hear from. I would make sure that I wouldn’t hear from politicians and their political messages. Of course, they can call me personally if they want to talk to me personally. But I don’t think I need their canned, automated phone call to sell me their message.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.


Shaun said...

I agree and am doing something about it. I formed the non-profit non-partisan group, The National Political Do Not Contact Registry to advocate for regulations around robo calls and to create a political do not call list.

I started a non-profit, non-partisan organization last year to combat intrusive robo-calls by using a voluntary, private sector solution: the Political Do Not Contact Registry.

It’s similar to the federal government’s Do Not Call list. But to succeed it requires politicians who will honor the wishes of voters who’d rather not endure the endless robotic, political phone calls during campaign season.

North Carolina’s own Congresswoman Virginia Foxx was the first to sign our pledge. She has been fighting for the voters’ right to opt out of robo-calls for years. She introduced Congressional robo-call reform legislation and is a voice for change on this issue. So it was natural that she was the first to sign our pledge.

Voters’ phones will soon be ringing off the hook. Fed up voters can visit our web site at and add their names to our free Do Not Call registry. It’s time we give the political dialogue back to average, concerned citizens.

Shaun Dakin
Founder & CEO, the National Political Do Not Contact Registry

The Frequent Critic said...

Great info Shaun. Thanks for posting!

Here's the web address for anyone else who is interested:

Shaun said...

You are welcome!