The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will roll out it's National Do Not Call Registry beginning July 1, 2003. This is great news for consumers who have grown tired of annoying sales calls by pesky telemarketers.
Consumers will be able to register online at a website established by the FTC beginning July 1, the agency said. This is a free service and registration renewal to be placed on the list would occur every 5 years.
Additionally, a toll-free number will be available soon to register by phone. This program will be introduced over an eight-week period beginning in states west of the Mississippi River. The program will spread nationwide the following week.
Telemarketers will be required to "clean" their call lists by matching their list against the national "do not call" list every 90 days starting in September 2003.
Companies who call listed people will be subject to fines of up to $11,000 per violation. Enforcement will begin in October 2003.
Over two dozen states already have their own "do-not-call" lists and most of these states plan to incorporate their lists into the national registry.
CAUTION: There have already been reports of scam artists and identity thieves calling people to request or confirm personal information for this new registry.
The FTC has posted this warning to consumers on their web page:
"The FTC will not allow private companies or other such third parties to "pre-register" consumers for the national Do Not Call registry. Web sites or phone solicitations that claim they can or will register a consumer's name or phone number on a national list - especially those that charge a fee - are a scam. Consumers will be able to register directly with the FTC, or through some state governments, but never private companies."
This is an "opt-in" service only, meaning you must initiate your registration when the service becomes available this next month.
Consumers should also be aware that some types of telephone solicitation are exempt from the do-not-call protection. They include companies from which you have purchased, leased or rented from in the previous 18 months. Also charities, surveys, and calls on behalf of politicians will be exempt from this service.
© 2003, James H. Dimmitt
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