Locals question effectiveness of national “do not call” list

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Complaints to the government have steadily risen about unwanted phone calls from telemarketers, leaving many questioning how well the federal "do not call" list is working.

Signing up for the national Do Not Call registry should limit if not completely cut off telemarketing calls to people's homes, but several locals say that's not what is happening.

Susan Cornish, a Brookland resident, added her cell phone number to the national Do Not Call list earlier this year, but it's done little to stop the telemarketers from calling daily.

"It's like clock work," Cornish said. "In the morning, around noon and at night, we get the same call."

That call usually features a pre-recorded pitch peddling everything from legal advice to new siding for your home, as the Harpole family from Paragould has become accustomed.

"Our son used to tell them if you'll build me a house then I'd have the siding," said Baraba Harpole with a laugh, "then you can put the siding on there."

Harpole and others continue asking what can be done to stop the automated sales calls.

Since they are already on the "do not call" list, they are encouraged to join a growing number of people who have filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which manages the list.

The latest government figures show monthly robocall complaints have climbed more than 30 percent during the past two years.

"We don't know who to look into if you're not reporting the violations," said Sarah Tacker, the Arkansas senior assistant attorney general.

Tacker says Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed lawsuits against five companies in August. All allegedly violated state and federal law by repeatedly calling numbers listed on the "do not call" registry.

"The five lawsuits that we filed in August," Tacker said, "are a result of the investigation that our office did from reports that people gave us about telemarketing calls they received."

That advice has gotten people like Judy Hill of Jonesboro thinking that they should file a complaint.

"I'm just hoping that somebody will finally put a stop to all this," she said, "and stop harassing people."

To file a complaint, people can log onto the Do Not Call registry's Web site here.

The Arkansas Attorney General's Office will look into any violations reported in the state, so it has also posted additional information about the process here.

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