A Little "Un-Solicited" Advice

Don't you just completely DETEST those pesky unwanted
telemarketing calls, junk mailings and spam emails?

I know I do, and as a full-time homemaker and mom (your basic 24/7 occupation),
the LAST thing I have time for is precisely that kind of nonsense.

Well, lemme just tell ya. . . I have discovered ways to eliminate much of it from my life,
and I'd be happy to share with you how. Just keep reading. . .

First of all, the whole notion that soliciting has to do
with the request for money or the sale of goods is a common misconception,
unless you happen to be dealing in prostitution.

Check out the proper definition here: solicit

Now. . .here is some useful information regarding how to be removed
from solicitation lists and solicitous credit inquiries.
You can register with all of these right online.

The Direct Marketing Association (The "DMA")
1120 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036-6700
Phone: 212-768-7277
Fax: 212-302-6714

For removal from solicitous telephone calling lists:
Telephone Preference Service

Once the DMA's own service, this will now direct you towards
state and federal "Do Not Call" list registrations.

For removal from direct mail marketing solicitation lists:
Mail Preference Service

The cost is $1/once every five years for each registration.

For removal from email spam lists:
E-mail Preferenece Service

E-mail preference is free for up to 3 addresses at a time.

Of course, should you change any of your information (address, phone #, email address), you'll want to re-register. And while there is no panacea to eliminate all such solicitations (especially local/community or not-for-profit ones), I find that the DMA can help eliminate about 90% of the undesired contact. Once registered, do allow 6-8 weeks for your request to become circulated enough to take noticeable effect.

The DMA also offers consumers information on how to remove
the names of deceased loved ones from such lists, etc. Simply visit here.

Also, remember when it comes to email SPAM, never, ever respond to any unwanted messages unless you're completely certain as to the source; not even to request �removal� from solicitation lists. By responding, in many cases what you're effectively doing is acknowledging your email address as a valid, �live� or active account.

For more unscrupulous solicitors, requests to be removed from one email solicitation list are met by simply shifting acknowledged email accounts from one list to another instead, ultimately proliferating the spamming problem.

Great news!! As of June 27th, 2003, the Federal Government's highly anticipated "Do Not Call" anti-telephone solicitation list is open, accepting registrations. You can access their website and register up to 3 telephone numbers here.

This service is free of charge and registration lasts 5 years.

You may need to be patient, though. Early reports are that the site does occasionally experience heavy traffic, and it may be adviseable to wait for "off peak" hours to register. (We were able to register the first day and assure you that, once in, the process was smooth and easy; worth the wait!)

In the meantime, you can also try accessing registration via their toll-free number at:


As of late September 2003, telemarketing firms have united in an attempt to halt the October 1st, 2003 implementation of the federal "Do Not Call" list. Early court rulings have sided with (~gasp~) the telemarketers, but appeals are already in the works to have these rulings overturned. It would appear that telemarketing firms would ultimately like to see this list declared unconstitutional, however, that seems rather unlikely. Since registration became available in late June, more than 50 million American households have registered sending a clear-cut message that telephone solicitation is sorely unwelcome!

Meanwhile, as this gets sorted out by the court system, the DMA has stated that they intend to honor the list via their Telephone Preference Service.

October 7th, 2003--A federal appeals court in Denver has determined that the FTC may begin enforcing the "Do Not Call" list at least temporarily while the courts sort out challenges from telemarketing firms that enacting the list is unconstitutional. Telemarketing firms have cited abridgement of their freedom of speech, particularly since the list would apply to their interests but not those of charitable organizations. However, the appeals court returned with the following sentiment: "The Supreme Court has held that there is undoubtedly a substantial governmental interest in the prevention of abusive and coercive sales practices", further suggesting that some telemarketing practices have "subjected consumers to substantial fraud, deception, and abuse".

While the earlier court ruling forced the FTC to shut down online and telephone list registration (listed above), the system should be restored (for now at least) within a few days of this latest decision.

Stay tuned as more information develops!!

On December 8th, 2003, Congress approved a bill which would outlaw much unwanted e-mail by creating a "do not spam" registry similar to the recently enacted national "do not call" anti-telemarketing registry.

Specifically aimed at email marketers who propogate the likes of pornography and "get rich quick" schemes, if passed, the measure would invoke jail time and multi-million dollar fines against violators, including those employing tactics such as false return email addresses. Although the bill would not specifically outlaw every form of unsolicited email contact, provisions would exist requiring legitimate business to honor consumer requests to be removed from solicitation lists.

President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law before the year's end.

As always, stay tuned as more information develops!!

Credit Reporting Agencies "Opt-Out" Request Line
Toll Free: 1-888-567-8688

If you contact this number, you can have your credit records sealed from inquiries aimed specifically at soliciting your business. This one call handles all 4 major credit reporting agencies simultaneously. (Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW), Enovus, and Trans Union.)

They say you can request either a 2-year period, or permanent closure. Should you ever want to re-open your files to such inquiries, you can do that as well.

Also, most of these credit reporting agencies and their services can be accessed online. Simply type the desired company name into your search engine to bring up more information.

Hope this helps!!

On the lighter side. . .
A few suggestions on the topic from Andy Rooney.

Back to "Rants, Ruminations & Advices" main page.