Missoulian State Bureau Escape from telemarketers, junk mail, sweepstakes

HELENA - Are you tired of irritating telemarketers interrupting your dinner hour, reading time or favorite television show? And you want to stop that endless stack of junk mail and catalogs that fill your mail box daily? Have you had enough of the sweepstakes you never win, even though you sign up for the magazines?

Here's how to do it:

Telemarketers

There are several steps that consumers can take to limit bothersome telemarketing calls from national advertisers.

First, any time a telemarketer calls, tell the person to put you on the "do-not-call" list immediately.

Send a letter to this address asking the organization to take you off any calling lists: Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9014, Farmington, NY 11735-9014.

Ask any charities that call and want your money to tell you how much of your donation actually goes to the charity and how much goes for administrative costs. Better yet, ask that the charity send you a written description of where the money goes so you can make a judgment without pressure. The same can be done with business telemarketers.

If you have Caller ID, you can use its anonymous call rejection, call rejection and call trace features. Of course, you can always hang up on an obnoxious telemarketer and tell him never to call you again and to take you off the list.

Junk mail

You can write a letter to this national clearinghouse and ask to get off as many mailing lists that it has: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmington, NY 11735-9008.

Sweepstakes

To have your name removed from these major sweepstakes offers, call these numbers: Publishers Clearing House, (877) 379-3377; U.S. Purchasing Exchange: (818) 895-5555; Readers Digest (800) 234-9000; American Family Publishing, (800) 237-2400; Sweepstakes Clearinghouse, (800) 762-3303.

Source: Telemarketing Section, Montana Department of Commerce and other sources.

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