After a week of never-ending robocalls--including three on Sunday that interrupted dinner, a football game and a 2-year-old's going to bed ritual--I can't help but wonder whether we need a Do Not Robocall amendment to the National Do Not Call Registry.
This idea isn't original--I've seen it mentioned on a few blogs--but the robocalls must stop. The solution: Add political calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Chances of this solution happening: Nil (pols don't pass legislation to limit themselves).
So what's pushing me over the robocall edge? I happen to live in Pennsylvania where it has been non-stop election volunteers for the last two months. Memo to candidates: Pull your troops ASAP because we're really sick of them--especially the Canadian (!) election volunteer that knocked on my door Sunday (in between robocalls of course). He was a fine chap that should probably go home and work in his own country's elections (only half kidding).
After the latest barrage of robocalls I figured I'd look into why these calls exist. I found the following on the Do Not Registry's Q&A document:
Are calls from political organizations or calls soliciting for charities covered?
Political solicitations are not covered by the TSR at all, since they are not included in its definition of “telemarketing.” Charities are not covered by the requirements of the national registry. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.
But aren't political solicitations really just telemarketing? Telemarketers want you to buy something. Robocalls want you to buy a candidate. I don't want to be bothered by either. I looked into some call blocking technical details courtesy of How Stuff Works, but don't have the time to hack into my phone--or figure out the settings. Robocalls are like fighting spam without a good filter. Mercifully, this election ends in a day.