The other night, I got a recorded phone call from a window cleaning service in Irving. I hung up on the call as soon as I realized what it was. I’m on the no call list, so I thought that it was obviously an illegal call, and was appropriately irritated. Plus, this company apparently has a reputation for this sort of thing.

But it turns out, according to the New York Times, that these kinds of calls fall into a gray area under the do not call law. Under the current rules, automated calls are allowed when the callers have what are known as established business relationships with those they dial. But a Federal Trade Commission official says that “established business relationship” is broadly defined and that plenty of companies  flout the rules.

The problem has become so widespread that the FTC may revise its regulations this summer to bar these gray area calls unless customers give express permission.

So what can we do until then? If you’re on the no call list, you can file a complaint, which I just did for the window washers. It’s a couple of web pages long and takes just a few minutes. But you will need to know either the name of the company or its phone number, and when they called. You can also leave a comment when you file the complaint.

And if you’re not on the no call list, signing up is incredibly easy. Make sure to include your land lines and cell phones.

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