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How Is the Consumer in Charge?

The technology that offers consumers vastly expanded opportunities also puts consumers in charge and gives them choices. For example, if you would prefer that your credit record not be used for the marketing purposes just described, all you need do is call toll-free, 1-888-5OPT-OUT, to reach the National Opt-Out Center. This hot line was established by the three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union LLC. You can leave your name, address, phone number, and Social Security number, and your name will no longer be used for pre-screening or any other marketing purpose by any of these bureaus. You will, of course, retain the right to obtain credit approval for a purpose that you initiate, such as securing a mortgage or a car loan. .

Similarly, consumers can control the marketing phone calls they receive in their homes. Direct marketers supported rules made by the Federal Trade Commission that were mandated by the Telemarketing Sales Rule in 1996, and the Federal Communications Commission that were mandated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1992. Marketers who solicit you in your home are required to give you the name of their company and their telephone number; all telephone marketers are required to maintain lists of people who request that they not be called again. Under the law, the caller must keep a record of your request on a "do not call" list and may not make further telephone solicitations to your home. The law also allows consumers to file suit and collect damages for violations of the ruling.

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