Government enacts 'Do Not Call' registry - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

6.27.03

Government enacts 'Do Not Call' registry

Tired of telemarketers? Well, you are not alone. So many people complained about the calls that the federal government has decided to step in. It announced a new "do not call" list and President Bush unveiled it at a White House ceremony today.

It turns out this law will not block all telemarketing calls, but probably about 80 percent. Businesses who violate this new rule face steep fines $11,000 a call.

How many times have you heard this: "Hello, is Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so there?" and said this: "What part of no do you not get? No thank you. Don't want it. Leave me alone! Click!"

Well, today, the federal government announced it is taking steps to hang up on telemarketers. For the first time consumers can place their names on a national do not call list. An initiative so important to so many millions that the President himself announced it, "when Americans are sitting down to dinner or a parent is reading to his or her child, the last thing that they need is a call from a stranger with a sales pitch."

According the Federal Communications Commission, consumers can register over the phone or on the Internet. Chairman, Michael Powell says it is fairly simple, "one call, one click and you've taken care of probably 80 percent of what you're accustomed to getting."

Tim Furis, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, says most telemarketers make the calls don not want to target those who do not want to be bothered, "if you talk privately to telemarketers, not to their public representatives, they'll tell you they don't want to call people who do not want to be called."

Louis Mastria, a spokesperson for the telemarketing industry, says a do-not-call list is a good start, "if a consumer has made a choice not to receive a call from a telemarketer, then we shouldn't be calling them. Period. End of sentence."

But he says it is not a cure-all because some groups are exempt. Those include charities, pollsters and, of course politicians. "I think it's a disservice to consumers to tell them, to purport to them that they will be on a do not call list and possibly never get a phone call again when in fact, legally, you can," Mastria said.

Although you can sign up for the registry now, the calls will not stop until October first. To give you an idea how popular this might be, more than 100 people were signing up per second this morning before the do-not-call list was even officially announced.

If you want to sign up for the national call list, you can find it on the Internet at www.donotcall.gov . A phone number for those living east of Mississippi will be posted after July seventh.

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