By JACK WEATHERLY
The addition of cellphones to Mississippi’s do-not-call list has led to a disproportionate jump in complaints about unsolicited phone calls, according to the Public Service Commission.
Complaints in the commission’s Southern District have more than doubled since cellular calls were allowed on the do-not-call list starting on July 1, said Daniel Ford, spokesman for the district.
Before July 1, there were more than 120,000 subscribers to the list, Ford said. Since then, over 30,000 cellular phones have been added, he said.
Now there are 200 to 250 complaints per month, more than twice what had been.
The jump in complaints reflects the growing use of cellphones.
“A lot of it is robo-calling,” Ford said. The Federal Communications Commission is in talks with the phone industry to address that problem, he said.
Central District complaints have likewise jumped, from 150 to 200 per month to 450 or 500 a month, said Stacy Harrell, do-not-call administrator for the district.
Another problem is that 40 percent to 50 percent of the unwanted calls come from overseas, and the commission has no authority beyond the state, Harrell said.
Nevertheless, Harrell said that she thinks the complaint process has been successful. Registration can be done by simply going to the PSC website, psc.state.ms.us, and clicking on the no-call button, which also allows filing of complaints.
There are a number of exemptions to the list:
• An entity that does not make a major sales presentation during a call.
• An entity that does not try to complete a sale during a call.
• Auto sellers.
• Insurance agents.
• Securities brokers and investment advisers.
• Newspaper ad and subscription callers.
• Banks and other lenders.
• Funeral homes.
• A telemarketer with an established relationship with the person being called.
Harrell said that the Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act was passed in 2003 after a protracted effort to reach agreement on exemptions was finally reached.
Efforts to obtain information about the Northern District were unsuccessful.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info