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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Those blasted telephone recordings

This week the Federal Trade Commission announced a new rule that will help telephone customers get some relief from prerecorded telemarketing calls—and it is about time.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get at least a dozen of these annoying calls.

It is an absolute when I retire to the little girl’s room—the phone rings, I run like crazy and I hear “This is the second notice on your automobile’s expired warranty.”

Like heck—it is the 577th notice and we haven’t owned that car in years—but the annoying messages keep coming.

I love the one with this gosh-awful horn blowing in my ear. That one says it is the sound of a cruise ship and I have just won a free vacation.

If that cruise ship sounds like the phone message, I understand why the trip is free.

Of course, there are the half a dozen or so calls that simply have little clicking noises and then a dead dial tone.

For a reporter, who lives on the telephone, these calls are not only annoying but downright disruptive.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now the FTC is going to require that (beginning Sept. 1, 2009) telemarketing companies must obtain call recipients’ written permission before contacting them with a prerecorded message.

Effective Dec. 1, 2008, prerecorded telephone marketing calls must have an opt-out mechanism so that recipients can elect not to receive those unsolicited calls in the future.

Under the new regulations, charitable organizations can continue contacting their members or previous donors, but will need to offer an opt-out mechanism once the new rule goes into effect.

The FTC’s new rule will not prohibit customers from receiving certain prerecorded informational calls, such as those which announce flight delay notifications, upcoming appointments, or similarly helpful information.

There will be a lot of happy people when all these rules go into effect.

I am one of them.

The new rule can be viewed online at www.ftc.gov.


Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  August 27, 2008