Nothing can disrupt a quiet dinner more than a badly timed phone call, but when that call is an unwanted telemarketer, it can truly be frustrating. This is why Missouri offers relief from these unwanted telemarketing calls through the No Call list — a list of residential telephone numbers of Missourians who have indicated that they don't want to be called by telemarketers at home. The No Call list can dramatically decrease the number of unwanted calls your household receives, but the list currently does not include automated “robo calls.” I have introduced legislation and will continue my efforts to ban these unwanted calls.
The word robo call is not defined in federal or state law, but it commonly means telephone calls made using both automated dialing devices and prerecorded voice messages. Many of these calls have recently been restricted by federal guidelines, but political robo calls continue to plague Missouri households. At least nine states have passed legislation restricting or regulating robo calls, and more than 20 have considered such laws in the last two years. During the 2008 election season, hundreds of voters throughout Missouri were targeted by campaign-related robo calls at all hours, several times a day.
I will work to expand Missouri’s No Call list to include robo calls, so that you can sit through dinner without the phone ringing and hearing a recorded voice on the end of the line telling you why you should or should not vote for a certain candidate. This legislation would also expand the No Call list to ban phone calls and text messages to personal cell phones and residential faxes. With cell phones, you have to pay if you receive a call or text, and with faxes you have to pay for paper, ink and other costs of receiving a fax. As companies try to bypass current laws using this technology, it is important that you be able to opt out of these calls and faxes so that you don’t have to foot the cost for unsolicited ads.
Missouri’s current No Call list can protect you from receiving unwanted telemarketing calls. The service is free, and can be done at anytime online or by phone. A form for adding residential phone numbers is available at www.nocall.ago.mo.gov or you can call 1-866-662-2551. You can also check online to see if your number is on the list at www.nocall.ago.mo.gov/no_call_registration_lookup.
I will continue to stand up for the rights of Missourians who wish to protect their privacy from robo calls, and all unwanted telephone calls. If you think a telemarketer has violated Missouri’s No Call laws, then you can file a complaint online at https://www.nocall.ago.mo.gov/cgi-bin/nocall/nocallComplaint.cg