The Federal Trade Commission today released its schedule for creating and implementing the national "do not call" registry, first announced in December 2002 as part of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The registry will give consumers a choice about whether to receive most telemarketing calls. Beginning in July, consumers will be able to put their telephone numbers on the national registry, which telemarketers subsequently will be required to access. As of October, it will be illegal for most telemarketers to call a number listed on the registry.
When registration opens in July, consumers can register for free in two ways: online or by telephone. The FTC will announce the Web site URL for online registration and the toll-free number in June. To better manage the anticipated volume of registrations, initial sign-up by phone for the registry will be phased in, region-by-region, over an eight-week period. Online registration will be available immediately throughout the United States in July. Consumers' names will remain on the registry for five years, or until they change their phone number. At that point, consumers will be able to renew their registration.
The registry will be available to telemarketers and other sellers in September 2003, and they will be required to "scrub" their call lists against the names on the registry at least once every 90 days. In October 2003, the FTC and the States will begin enforcing the national "do not call" provisions of the Amended TSR. Violators will be subject to a fine of up to $11,000 per violation. Consumers listed should begin to receive fewer unwanted telemarketing calls approximately three months after they register.
Until the national "do not call" registry begins accepting registrations, consumers may limit the number of telemarketing calls they receive by placing their names on the "do not call" lists of individual companies. Additionally, some states have established "do not call" lists for their residents' convenience. Consumers can visit www.ftc.gov/donotcall for additional information and updates.
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