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First Contact

While the “Do Not Call” telephone list now exceeds a hundred million home telephone numbers, many home improvement companies are buying newer and better telephone equipment to fight even harder.

What you have to understand is that if you have a brain, then you have put your number on the “Do Not Call” list. There are people … “without brains” … who have not put their number on that list. If you have not put your telephone on that list then you have profiled yourself as an idiot … or a “person with no brain” — and fair game for these predators.

There are people who like junk mail because it is the only contact they have with the outside world. There are people who get an average of five pounds of mail-order catalogs a day because they are lonely. There are people who answer the phone because they have no one else to talk to.

Those people are in terrible danger.

The home improvement companies are also fiddling to get around the “Do Not Call” list. If you sign up for a time-share condo or to win a car or to win actually almost anything — you can forfeit your “do-not-call” status at least for a while:

A telemarketer or seller may call a consumer with whom it has an established business relationship for up to 18 months after the consumer’s last purchase, delivery, or payment — even if the consumer’s number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. In addition, a company may call a consumer for up to three months after the consumer makes an inquiry or submits an application to the company. And if a consumer has given a company written permission, the company may call even if the consumer’s number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. One caveat: if a consumer asks a company not to call, the company may not call, even if there is an established business relationship. Indeed, a company may not call a consumer — regardless of whether the consumer’s number is on the registry — if the consumer has asked to be put on the company’s own do not call list.

Circumventing ‘Do Not Call’

Here’s a hypothetical case: Let’s say that you see a bright shiny car in the middle of a shopping mall and it has a nice red bow on it and the sign next to it says: “Win the car!” So you fill out the little yellow card and drop it in the box. And let’s say that 100,000 people sign up for that chance to win the car. First, the car can be a used one — not new, it may not even have an engine for all anybody knows, it could have been bought at auction (from the US Customs and still be full of drugs under the wheel wells, it really happens).

And all of this really does not matter because it might be years before the “Award Drawing” finally occurs. But you, by filling out that card, have forfeited your rights to the

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