News: Fed Up With Phone Solicitors? Cincinnati Bell Says Fight Back

Feeling like it isn't safe to answer the telephone? Afraid that it might be a telemarketer, ready to wrestle away your peace of mind and your pocket money right at dinner time? There's plenty you

Feeling like it isn't safe to answer the telephone? Afraid that it might be a telemarketer, ready to wrestle away your peace of mind and your pocket money right at dinner time?

There's plenty you can do about it, those Cincinnati Bell representatives who want to sell you more services say.

A popular and frugal option for your phone would be Reveal, which for $3 a month along with a caller ID service will stop all unidentified calls and ask for the caller to enter his phone number says Debbie Zicchiarelli, managing director of marketing and strategic planning for Cincinnati Bell.

Legitimate callers won't hesitate to enter his or her number to get your phone to ring. If a telemarketer, an obscene caller or a machine is calling you, no number is entered. The call is terminated.

But what if you don't want to fork over extra cash to get common courtesy that you really shouldn't have to pay for?

The Ohio Consumers Council offers several tips.

First, you can ask the telemarketer to take you off their list.

By law, they have to. You also can prevent being harassed again by asking to be moved to their "do not call" list. You should be on this list for the next 10 years.

If you encounter an evil telemarketer that doesn't follow these laws, contact the Ohio Attorney General at 1-800-282-0515, the council advises.

For those who prefer the gadgets, you also can get Complete Connections. For $34.95 a month, you can add and delete up to 20 calling services valued at more than $65. Services that are offered include Caller ID, Voice Mail, Call Forwarding, Call Block, Distinctive Ring and of course, Reveal.

Telephone fraud also is a problem related to solicitors. What if you really want what is being sold? How do you know you're not being taken advantage of?

The consumers council says you can check the company's credentials with the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060, and also remember to not send money to anyone who wants immediate payment. Never give out financial information such as your credit card number or bank account.

In the Cincinnati area, more than 15 percent of telephone customers have Reveal or Complete Connections says Libby Korosec, a Cincinnati Bell spokeswoman.

Most Cincinnatians, she says, get these features because of the convenience and because they are fed up with the disturbing phone calls.

As for your own personal battle with solicitors, good luck. Be knowledgeable about the laws and what steps you need to take to deter telemarketers. ©

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