When it comes to commercials, Life Inc. readers seem to prefer the sound of silence.
A post this week on a new law mandating that commercials have to be close to the same volume as the show that goes on around them brought sighs of relief from many readers.
“Thank You!!! I HATE loud commercials-I ALWAYS mute (but sometimes not fast enough),” one reader wrote.
Under the law, the commercial volume has to be within a range of 2 decibels (db) of the programming around them. That’s in contrast to the often jarring increases in sound that sometimes happens when the commercial break hits.
Even without the legislation, many viewers said they are already taking things into their own hands, or remotes.
About 36 percent of the nearly 23,000 people who took our poll said that they hit the mute button when the commercials come on, while another 34 percent said they change the channel.
About 29 percent said they use the DVR to fast-forward through the commercials, avoiding the whole problem altogether.
WE were having dinner at a friend’s house the other week and her phone rang. She came back annoyed, reporting that it was a telemarketing call.
That led to a discussion of phones and sales calls, which then set off a debate about whether we even need a landline anymore. I didn’t have the answers to the questions raised at the dinner party. But I promised to try to answer them.
So here goes: First of all, you should be signed up for the Do Not Call registry. The registry, which is available at donotcall.gov, was adopted in 2003. It bans telemarketers from cold-calling anyone whose name is on the list — and it includes cellphones, as long as you put them on the list. Telemarketers are required to check the list every 31 days and remove anyone who appears on the registry.
And if you’ve signed up once, you’re on the registry for good. So there’s no need to renew your listing.
Now, there are exceptions. If you’ve had “an established business relationship” with a company — meaning you bought, leased or rented something from it — a representative can call you for up to 18 months after a business transaction.
“But even if it’s a company you’ve done business with, you can ask to be put on a company-specific Do Not Call list,” said Mitchell Katz, a spokesman for the Federal Trade Commission, which, along with the Federal Communications Commission, oversees the registry. And that company is required to do so or you can report it to either of the commissions.
More recently, in 2009, the F.T.C. banned all prerecorded telemarketing “robocalls” unless a consumer expressly gave written consent. Such calls to cellphones have already been prohibited since 1991.
Telemarketers also have to offer consumers a way to opt out of future calls during the call by, say, pressing a key.
Again, Mr. Katz said, if you’re receiving those calls and don’t want them and I know few people who enjoy recorded sales calls, collect as much information as possible and report to the government agencies.
The most typical of these calls offers consumers extended auto warranties — by falsely giving people the impression that their warranties are about to expire — reduced mortgage rates or lower credit card rates.
Strange Random Annoyance Quote:
“Life consists of a lot of minor annoyances and a few matters of real consequence.” – Harvey Penick
- New FCC rules protect you from telemarketing robocalls (news.consumerreports.org)
- New legal action against operation ‘robocalling’ numbers on the Do Not Call Registry (news.consumerreports.org)
- FCC to get tougher on robocalls (usatoday.com)
- New Rules Against Robocalls (tvnooz.com)
- FCC Cracks Down on Robocalls (yro.slashdot.org)
- FCC tightens robocall rules (upi.com)
- Ring Ring, It’s for You: Is It a Poll or a Scam? (foxnews.com)
- FTC shuts down operation behind billions of ‘robocalls’ (news.consumerreports.org)
- FCC adopts new rules against ‘robocalls’ (mercurynews.com)
- FCC: Robocalls Be Gone! (adweek.com)