DoNotCall Phone Lines Open

July 7, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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WASHINGTON D.C. — Starting today, all those who were waiting in the long virtual line last week when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened its National Do Not Call Registry can now breathe a sigh of relief — the phone lines are open.

For all those who weren’t able to register online because of the mass of people trying to get their number in — 735,000 in the first day — relief can by found by calling (888) 382-1222. Just like registering online, registering by phone is free.

“This is great news for anyone tired of being hassled by telemarketing calls,” said Congressman Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland. “These calls can come during the most inappropriate times — such as during dinner or late in the evening — and anyone who has been repeatedly inconvenienced by them will welcome this.”

The current law, recently enacted by the Michigan Legislature, will protect residents, once they register, under both state and federal laws for five years or until someone takes their number out or changes it.

“The eagerly expected Do Not Call list sets the wheels in motion for residents to halt nuisance phone calls,” said Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland.

Federal enforcement of the National Do Not call Registry begins Oct. 1; however, according to the Better Business Bureau, telemarketers are required to “scrub” their calling lists beginning in September.

Telemarketers must then search the registry every 90 days and delete from their call lists phone numbers that are on the registry. All consumers whose numbers are on the registry by Aug. 31 should notice a downturn in telemarketing calls starting Oct. 1. Consumers who register after Sept. 1 will notice a drop in telemarketing calls within three months of the date they register.

If consumers still receive calls after having listed a phone number on the registry, they will be able to file a complaint with the FTC online or by calling the toll-free number. A telemarketer who disregards the national Do Not Call Registry could be fined up to $11,000 for each call.

Placing a phone number on the Do Not Call list will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all.. Some businesses are not covered, such as charities, political solicitors, survey takers and firms with which consumers have an established business relationship.

However, if a consumer asks a company not to call, it must honor the request. The law also restricts calls between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and prohibits deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts.

For those still looking to register online, traffic has slowed a bit and the site can be accessed at

www.donotcall.gov

     

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