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National Do Not Call Registry

On June 27, 2003 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission opened the National Do Not Call Registry.

This registry is intended to give U.S. consumers an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. On October 1, 2003, when the National Do Not Call Registry will be enforced, most telemarketers will be required to remove the numbers on the registry from their call lists.

Most telemarketers cannot call your telephone number if it is in the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register your home and mobile phone numbers for free. Your registration will be effective for five years.

If you register June 27 – August 31, 2003, most telemarketers must stop calling and you may file a complaint after October 1, 2003.

If you register on or after September 1, 2003 most telemarketers must stop calling and you may file a complaint three months after you register.

Exceptions to the do not call rule

Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. You may still receive calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors or companies with which you have an existing business relationship.

Political solicitations are not covered by the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers calling to solicit charitable contributions are not covered by the registry, but if you make a request to a specific organization that they not call you, they are required to honor your request. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.

If the call is really for the sole purpose of conducting a survey, it is not covered. Only telemarketing calls are covered – that is, calls that solicit sales of goods or services. Callers purporting to take a survey, but also offering to sell goods or services, must comply with the National Do Not Call Registry.

Even if you put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, a company with which you have an established business relationship may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or delivery from it, or your last payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again. (In that case, the company must honor your request not to call. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.) Also, if you make an inquiry to a company or submit an application to it, for three months afterwards the company can call you. If you make a specific request to that company not to call you, however, then the company may not call you, even if you have an established business relationship with that company.

If you do not want to put your number on the national registry, you can still prohibit individual telemarketers, one by one, from calling by asking them to put you on their company’s do not call list.

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