The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Kokua Line column
Feb 11, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Question: We have registered our home phone number with the national Do Not Call registry, although we sporadically get telemarketing calls. Recently we have gotten calls from SMS Research, the first time, about 6:30 to 7 p.m. We told them we weren't interested and politely asked them not to call us back. We go to bed early, so it was disturbing to get a call about a week later about 8:45 p.m. It turned out to be SMS again. My wife again asked that we not be called again, and the girl said, "I can call back any time I want," and hung up. Is it legally their right to keep calling even after we ask them to stop Are they supposed to call that late
Answer: The federal Do Not Call Registry has restrictions on most telemarketing calls, but it does not cover specific kinds of calls.
"Unfortunately, both the state (Telemarketers Fraud Prevention Act) and federal (Do Not Call Acts of 2003 and 2007) laws do not apply to surveyors or pollsters," said Bruce Kim, executive director of the state Office of Consumer Protection.
Also exempt are calls from political organizations, charities and companies with whom you have an existing business relationship.
However, Hersh Singer, SMS' chairman, was surprised to hear of your complaint, explaining that his company not only monitors all its calls, but also has an in-house do-not-call list.
Singer explained that SMS has its own call center at its downtown Honolulu office, with staff it hires, trains and supervises.
"We do not do any telemarketing ourselves," he said. "Our company is strictly a research company."
Most of SMS' research is done for the state and federal government, he said, and the policy is to call households at least five times. Calls also may be made as late as 8:30 to 8:45 p.m., Singer said.
(Federal and state regulations allow telemarketing calls up to 9 p.m.)
"But once they tell us, 'Please, don't call us again,' we adhere to that request," Singer said. "It's not part of our policy for our interviewers to say, 'We can call you any time we want.' We monitor 100 percent of our calls, and if that happened we would have known that. But that's neither here nor there."
Because calls are made by "random dialing," if someone asks not to be called again, Singer says, "We ask for their phone number, because we don't know who they are."
The number then is placed into SMS' system, and "we mark it off from calling again. ... Again, we respect people's desires."
Singer said people can call SMS at 537-3356 to be put on its do-not-call list.
Question: The homeless are continuing to place orange cones every morning in the free parallel parking stalls along Kalakaua Avenue across from Kapiolani Park, fronting the Queen Kapiolani statue. They're reserving them for friends. I reported the situation to a meter enforcer, and she said it was not her job to look after parking spaces on the makai side. We understand some coned-off spaces are reserved for lifeguards and other city workers, but the homeless have no right to reserve public spaces for their friends. We are afraid to remove the cones because the homeless are always on the lookout, and there are so many of them now. Would you please help us in resolve this problem
Answer: Officers will be checking the area, and drivers should call 911 if they see this happening, said Maj. Kurt Kendro, commander of the police Traffic Division.
"Nobody can save parking stalls for another person unless they have a street usage permit that includes the parking stalls," he said.
To Justin Gonsales, for helping a senior citizen who had car trouble in Kaneohe. I was just frantic when my car started steaming at the traffic light. I ran into a convenience store asking for help, and Justin, a customer, immediately ran out to assess the problem. He stayed with me for over two hours, providing great calming reassurance, until a mechanic arrived. Thank you, Justin! -- E. Suehiro
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