Why Are Politicians Exempt From the Do Not Call List?

 Phone Calls

One of the *best* technological advancements in the past 10 years has got to the advent of the “Do Not Call” list. For those of you unfamiliar with this list, you simply go to www.donotcall.gov and enter in your phone numbers and then telemarketers are not allowed to call you anymore.

When they first introduced the do not call list I was dubious. I registered my phone numbers but didn’t really believe it would cut down on my telephone spam. But you know what I found out? Those pesky unsolicited sales calls in fact went way, way, down. No more solar pitches or people wanting to sell me shutters for my house or people wanting me to switch long distance or cable TV provider.

Except for this past week. Maybe it’s because an election is coming up but my phone has been ringing off the hook the past week with more political phone spam than I know what to do with. Mostly these are recorded announcements reminding me to vote for blah, blah, blah, blah.

My question is, why do politicians get an exemption from the Do Not Call list? Why is it that I’m allowed to dump marketing telephone spam, but I can’t dump political marketing telephone spam?

According to the FTC’s website on the Do Not Call list, “Political solicitations are not covered by the TSR at all, since they are not included in its definition of “telemarketing.” Well why the hell not? That’s what I say. I vote that we add political solicitations to the “telemarketing” category and keep these unwanted phone calls out of my house as well.

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10 Comments

  1. Karoli says:

    Yeah, I’m with you on that one and it’s why I won’t telephone canvas for my guy too. I’ll drive folks to the polling places, attend rallies and contribute, but I will not do phone calls. Period. I hate my phone anyway, but I especially hate it this week.

    My household is bipartisan — half Dem, half GOP. So we get ALL the damn robocalls. Yesterday it was Mitt. Today it was Hillary. Those were the ones that left voice mail, anyway. I absolutely hate it and thought about not paying my bill so the number would come up disconnected.

    Fortunately the folks I want to talk to know to use my cell phone number.

  2. JeffH says:

    Thomas, I’m with you 100%!! We have been inundated with mostly recorded political calls in the past two weeks.

    While we are at it, lets add the CHP, police and fire and all other charities to the list of folks banned from spamming us! While these charities are no doubt great causes and help many needy people, I do not wish to be interrupted by their calls which happen at the most inopportune times.

    I am happy to give to charities and even donated a car a couple of years ago to Habitat for Humanities. But I have never given money or bought anything from anyone who has cold called me.

    Believe it or not, while I was reading your post, I received a spam call from the Fraternal Order of Police Officers, begging for a contribution. I politely asked them to remove me from their call list. We’ll see if they comply…

  3. William Beem says:

    Hell, that’s easy to figure out. Politicians wrote the definition. When did a politician ever put the screws to himself?

  4. Matt says:

    When I re-registered to vote a few weeks ago, there was a privacy option that kept your info out of their hands. I’m sure I’ll still get calls, though.

  5. rodageo says:

    As someone who has made many of these calls, and recruited many volunteers to do them too, campaigns make a serious effort to keep up their own personal do not call list, but that they have to be able to call. They aren’t asking you to pay any money, rather only encourage you to do your civic duty: vote. It takes you 30 seconds to pick up the phone and realize its a phonebanker and to tell them you aren’t interested. Is that too high a price to pay for the chance at an engaged citizenry?

  6. JeffH says:

    rodageo, I have received several recorded message political spam phone calls over the past two weeks. There is NO way to talk to a person to ‘opt out’ of future phone spam from these organizations. It is these recorded messages that I particularly detest. I do not see why I should have to opt out of each and every political or other organizations call list who decides to make an unsolicited call to me. Using your logic I suppose you are OK with all of the Cialis and Viagra Spam emails you receive and are happy to reply to each to ‘opt out’. I personally do not and will not accept the ‘opt out’ game as a valid solution to both phone and email spam.

  7. Shaun says:

    Two reasons:

    1) Politicians wrote the law
    2) The First amendment and freedom of speech. Most constitutional scholars believe that regulation political phone calls would not be upheld by the Supreme Court.

    Robo Calls are an epidemic and are invading the privacy of All American Voters.

    Our members are taking a stand and saying enough is enough at the National Political Do Not Contact Registry at StopPoliticalCalls.org.

    Here is a quote from a member this morning:

    I value my privacy. I pay for my phones,lines, etc. I regard
    unwanted phone calls (particularly robo calls) as an invasion of that privacy.

    Regards,

    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder
    The National Political Do Not Contact Registry
    http://www.stoppoliticalcalls.org

  8. Jeremy says:

    Amen. We should be able to opt out of all unsolicited calls.

  9. Eric in SF says:

    I know it’s not for everyone, but the best thing I ever did was ditch my landline and go entirely with my cell phone. My phone only rings when someone I know calls me. It’s been womderful.

    Hell, even before I officially ditched my landline, I never had a phone connected to it – just my DSL modem.

    rodageo – you are part of the problem – we should NEVER have unsolicited phone calls interrupting our evenings. There is a special circle in hell for all telemarketers/phone bank people. Sorry dude, but that’s how it is.

  10. MRenee says:

    I am disabled and can’t run to the phone and lately I have been harrassed by these automated political callers. They give me no way to talk to anyone and tell them not to call. One of them has called me at 8 am the past three mornings and woke me up, I haven’t been able to go back to sleep and it’s making me sicker. At least that one had a name and I had to look them up on the internet to get a phone number that I could reach someone, and they said it would take one to two weeks for their call center to stop. I called back today because after three nights of lack of sleep I am like the walking dead and begged the girl to take me off the list and she said she would call them and try to get me off today. In the meantime, I got two calls from another one that had no name on the caller id. I only found out through putting the phone number on a few internet sites that it is an automated political message. I have digital phone with Time Warner and they said they had no way to block calls. It’s very frustrating.