JACKSONVILLE- Did you get a call from phone solicitor recently even though you've signed up on the National Do Not Call Registry? There may be another solution to silence your phone from unwanted calls. The answer may be right in Tallahassee.
"It's annoying, it's annoying," says Mary Buskohl who constantly gets cell phone calls from phone solicitors. "I usually get a couple a day." Bill Graham has the same problem on his home phone. "I get about one or two a day," he says.
Graham and Buskohl registered their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry years ago. Buskohl even filed a complaint but she still gets unwanted calls. "Once I registered I thought that would have taken care of it. I mean that's what the whole thing was for. Obviously it's not," says Buskohl.
209 million cell and land line phone numbers are on the Free National Do Not Call Registry that started in 2003. If your number is registered, solicitors legally can't call. The exceptions are charities, political campaigns or legitimate surveys or pollsters. But some companies simply ignore the law or think U.S. laws don't apply to them because they're offshore. If you live in Florida, one solution is to get the state to investigate instead of the Feds.
"If people file a complaint. We will pursue it." says Liz Compton with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She says if your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry it's automatically put on the state's list too. There may be an advantage to having Tallahassee investigate a solicitor.
"The Feds wait until they have a lot more complaints against a business, maybe more egregious complaints against a business before they take action. We don't," says Compton.
Bottom line, in order to stop unwanted calls you have to complain. "I had no idea that the state had this service so I'm going to take my own action as well," says Graham.
If you want to register your number directly on the Florida Do Not Call List it will cost you $10 a year and $5 to renew. Last year, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services took in more than a half million dollars in fees from people who paid to have their number on the list. However, your number is automatically transferred on the Florida list for free if you signed up on the National Do Not Call Registry.
By the way, there's a bill in the Florida Legislature right now that aims to do away with the fees associated with the Florida Do Not Call list.
There are two ways to register a phone solicitor complaint in Floirda. You can call 1-800-HELP-FLA or go to www.800helpfla.com. There are also apps available that will block unwanted calls to your cell phone. For the Android there's Mr. Number. It's a free app that will block calls and text messages. For the iphone check out iblacklist. It's also free and allows you to do the same thing.
First Coast News