State Lawmakers Want to Hang Up on Unwanted Telemarketing Calls - - The News for South Mississippi

State Lawmakers Want to Hang Up on Unwanted Telemarketing Calls

Telemarketing calls can not only be annoying but also illegal. State legislators say there are laws to regulate how telephone solicitors operate, but they aren't being heavily enforced.

Dixie Stine says she and her family moved to an Ocean Springs neighborhood they thought would be a place to get some peace and quiet. She says says that quiet is too often interrupted by telemarketers.

"There's not a day goes by that we don't have at least three or four calls and sometimes more than that," Stine said. "It's my understanding that we're not supposed to receive these calls on Sunday or after 9 o'clock at night but we do."

When she heard state legislators were considering cracking down on telephone solicitors, Stine began e-mailing them to show her support for new laws to stop unwanted calls. After years of debate some lawmakers say pressure from people like Stine means a bill probably get passed this session.

"We've got to do something about these telemarketers," Sen. Tommy Robertson of Moss Point said. "They just keep calling people from about 6 p.m. at night to about 8:30 or 9 every night. We know it's a problem and we're going to do something about it."

Robertson says the Public Utility Committee is looking at legislation that will put some muscle behind laws regulating telemarketing.

"The real difference is going to be it's going to put some teeth in the law," Robertson said. "The Public Service Commission is going to be able to enforce it and be able to levy heavy fines against these telemarketing companies is they violate the law."

Stine hopes stricter enforcement will bring her some relief.

"At first I was polite to the people but now I've gotten to be," she said. "It's such an annoyance that I've become really rude and they still don't take you off. It's just a no win situation until something's done about it."

In the mean time, Stine says only way she can stop telemarketers from calling is to turn the ringer off or disconnect the phone.

By Danielle Thomas

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