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Options abound for dealing with unwanted phone calls

By June Watanabe


Question: What can I do to stop health care companies on the East Coast from calling at 4:30 a.m. and waking the sleeping household, or during the day when I’m busy caring for my grandson? All these calls make me, as well as my family, not want to answer the phone.

Question: Every day we get one or two calls at about the same time, from “Unknown Name Unknown Number.” If we answer, there’s only silence on the other end. We are Oceanic customers. Is there anything we can do to stop this?

Answer: Oceanic Time Warner Cable customers can dial *77 on their home phone to block unknown callers (hit *87 to unblock).

That service is included in the monthly billing, said spokeswoman Sandy Davis.

Also available is Voicezone, an online assistance service in which customers can check their call history or, with Road Runner, see caller ID on their PC at home, plus block selective phone numbers, Davis said. Customers can go to www.oceanic.com, sign in to MyServices, then My Home Phone to get to Voicezone.

Hawaiian Telcom customers can call its Nuisance Call Bureau for problems with harassing, illegal, threatening or obscene calls, said R. Scott Simon, executive director of corporate communications.

“When our customers are being called inappropriately, Hawaiian Telcom regards those situations very seriously,” he said.

After finding out the nature of the calls, a specialized team will then either investigate or recommend options to manage unwanted or annoying phone calls, he said.

Some of those options can entail additional charges. Hawaiian Telcom customers can call the Nuisance Call Bureau at 643-7111 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Simon pointed out that “collection calls, automated telemarketing calls and other types of electronically generated calls — even if unwelcomed — are generally not illegal.”

However, they are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, which provides information and guidance on what to do regarding unwanted telemarketing calls: transition.fcc.gov/cgb/


Among the rules: Telemarketers must provide their name, the name of the entity on whose behalf they are calling and a contact number or address; are prohibited from making solicitation calls to your home before

8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; and must comply with any do-not-call request you make during a solicitation call.

First and foremost, you should register your home and cellphone numbers on the National Do Not Call list if you want to stop most telemarketing calls: online at www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222 on the phone you want to register.

The FCC says registration does not deal with prank or harassing calls, suggesting you contact police for those, nor does it stop calls from political organizations and charities or from companies with which you have an existing business relationship or that have your permission in writing to receive their calls.

Complaints about telemarketers who violate FCC regulations can be filed with the FCC, which says it can issue warning citations and fines but does not award individual damages.

Complaints can be filed online at www.fcc. gov/complaints, by calling 888-225-5322 or faxing 866-418-0232, or writing to Federal Communications Commission, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division, 445 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20554.


To irresponsible fans attending events at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Arena. I recently stepped on trash left behind in the aisle, and it was a mess. There are trash receptacles at every exit, so why can’t you discard your trash when leaving? Please show some class and let’s keep the arena a first-class venue. — Disgusted UH Fan

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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Beezlebufo wrote:
Mahalo for necessary complaint information; addresses and phone numbers!
on November 7,2011 | 07:15AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Why not just get a phone/answering machine combo? We do that at home and NEVER pick up a call. If it's someone we know, we pick it up at the point the person identifies himself/herself to leave a message. Saves plenty of aggravation.
on November 7,2011 | 07:38AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Hawaiian Telecom also offers the *77 block service. When it comes to political robo calls, the FCC cannot do anything about that so you have to contact the individual campaign to be removed. During the last campaign Hanabusa and Lingle responded accordingly and ceased calling. Djou on the other hand did not stop and continued to harass residents who sent several cease and desist requests.
on November 7,2011 | 11:25AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
You're correct about the Djou campaign. I have friends who voted for Hanabusa just because of Djou's arrogant refusal to stop those darn calls, which wouldn't stop even if you hung up the phone.
on November 7,2011 | 02:34PM
cojef wrote:
Irritating, but what the heck, you can have peace and quiet for a while and it will start again. Tele-marketeers earn their living on the tele. Get a caller ID installed so that you can be selective on who you would pick-up on.
on November 7,2011 | 11:45AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
I love it when telemarketers call and start their pitch about a good mortgage deal, yada, yada, yada. I don't HAVE a mortgage.
on November 7,2011 | 02:36PM
Vivgie wrote:
Just turn off the phone at night. Verizon will give you one free phone number change. After that the charge is still cheap. Stay away from Terminix. After Hauoli was sold to them they became real pests. Stay away from Terminix. They stink! Go with local folks like Kamaaina (red and black striped tents) or Diversified (orange tents).
on November 8,2011 | 12:51PM
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