IMAGE: Phone, robocalls

Running a full-time business comes with a laundry list of challenges.

Wendy Diebel never expected one of them to be the amount of robo-calls she receives on a daily basis.

"It's so annoying. It's hard to run a business when your phone is going off 24/7 with stupid phone calls," Diebel said.

Diebel owns The Beauty Barn salon in Davison. She relies on her cell phone to make appointments for her clients.

"I always feel bad when I have to stop, cause I try to make a relationship with my client that we don't need to use our phones when they are in my chair,” Diebel said.

She said she is stopping on average two to three times a day to block these numbers in her phone. She signed up for the Do Not Call Registry years ago, but doesn’t believe it’s making a difference.

"It doesn't matter at all, they're still gonna call. You can block the phone number, but they then just change the phone number. You get calls about college, car warranties, you name it, you're getting calls about it," Diebel said.

The coordinator of the Do Not Call Registry said telemarketers who buy the numbers from lead generators are required to screen them against the registry.

“Sellers and telemarketers who violate the law, the FTC brings lawsuits. We've brought 139 cases to enforce our Do Not Call and robo-call rules. We've finished 126 of them, and through those cases we have collected $120 million in actual collections,” said Ian Barlow, with the Federal Trade Commission.

Barlow said it is illegal to call anyone registered on the Do Not Call Registry, but it’s up to the consumer to report a violation.

"We recommend, register, hang up on bad calls, then report the bad calls," Barlow said.

Barlow said you should report all unwanted calls to: https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx

He also suggests people block the phone numbers in their phones. He said there are many apps available to help with unwanted calls.

“Many consumers report great success with call blocking apps. I don't think any of them are going to be perfect, but there are many apps on the market that vary with different settings and different levels of call blocking," Barlow said.

There are several popular apps available for download, but many of them require a paid subscription. We found that some of the more popular apps are: RoboKiller, Nomorobo, Hiya and Youmail.

Phone companies are also working on new technology requiring all calls to carry a digital signature. It would ensure that the number that shows up on your phone is an actual number and not a spoof.

Diebel just wishes her phone number and information weren’t for sale in the first place.

"I think I get a lot more than an average person because it's linked to a business," Deibel said.

She said she’s started having clients book exclusively online so she doesn’t have to rely on calls. Until the unwanted calls completely stop, she’s going to continue using her own methods to get around them.

"I answer and listen for the dead air and say, 'this is Wendy.' You know, if it goes into something else, you hurry up and hang up,” Diebel said.

You can register your phone on the Do Not Call Registry at: https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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