Miller encourages Iowans to sign up to reduce commercial telemarketing calls.
Call 1-888-382-1222, or visit www.DONOTCALL.GOV.
DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller is encouraging Iowans to consider signing up for the new federal "Do Not Call" Registry if they want to reduce telemarketing calls.
[Update as of August 2004: Over 685,000 Iowans have signed up for the Do Not Call Registry, and over 62 million Americans.] [Update as of March 4, 2005: 959,125 Iowa phones have been signed up, and 85.8 million nationwide.]
"This is a great development by the FTC and the FCC," Miller said of the Federal agencies that are teaming up to create the nationwide registry. "It's easy, and it's free. Consumers now can call 1-888-382-1222 to put their telephone on the Do Not Call Registry, or they can log in at www.DONOTCALL.GOV." The TTY (Text Telephone) number is 1-866-290-4236. People will have to dial from the number they wish to register, typically from their own home or cell phone.
"The industry has estimated that telemarketers attempt over 100 million calls a day," Miller said. "This has been a rising source of irritation and consternation for many consumers, and we hear about it in our Consumer Protection Division. The new federal registry, coupled with other strong new rules, can only help reduce this barrage of calls many consumers don't want."
Dan Power, President of the Iowa AARP, joined Miller at a news conference Friday, underscoring the benefits older Iowans can reap from the Do Not Call Registry.
Details of the Do Not Call Registry:
- Consumers should call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone they wish to register. They also can visit www.DONOTCALL.GOV to be placed on the database set up by the Federal Trade Commission. Registered phone numbers will be put on the national Do Not Call list for five years. After five years, the number will need to be renewed. A number can be taken off the registry at any time. Consumers who register on line will have to provide an email address for confirmation, but only the phone number will be kept in the registry information.
- Commercial telemarketers will be required to search the registry every three months and remove names from their call lists that are on the registry. The FTC will begin enforcing the National Do Not Call Registry on October 1, 2003. Consumers on the registry by August 31 should notice a reduction in telemarketing calls after October 1. Generally, consumers will be able to expect fewer calls within three months of signing up for the registry. [Update: As of 2005, telemarketers must update their lists every 31 days, so consumers will be able to expect fewer calls within one month.]
- Consumers still receiving telemarketing phone calls 90 days after they have registered can file a complaint online or by telephone. Telemarketers violating the FTC rule may be fined up to $11,000 for each call. If you register and still receive a call after 90 days following the date you register, you may file a complaint by calling the registry number,1-888-382-1222, or going to the FTC web site: www.donotcall.gov. Just follow the directions to file your complaint. You must file your complaint with the FTC Do Not Call registry.
- Some phone callers are exempt from the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Do Not Call registry requirements. A business with which a consumer has had a business relationship is exempt from the rules for up to 18 months after the last purchase, payment, or delivery. Political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors also are exempt from the law setting up the registry.
- Miller emphasized, however, that consumers also can TELL certain telemarketers not to call them again, even if the telemarketer is exempt from the registry requirements. "For example, if a professional fundraiser calls you on behalf of a charity, they must put you on their own do-not-call list if you tell them to," Miller said. "That can cut down calls even further. You also can tell a company with which you have done business not to call you again, and they must not call you for telemarketing purposes."
Other regulations that will help consumers:
Miller said the federal agencies also are implementing other rules that will benefit consumers troubled by "abandoned" telemarketing calls and automated messages. Telemarketers using "predictive dialers" - which initiate phone calls that often are "abandoned" when the consumer answers but there is no telemarketing person available - must abandon no more than three percent of all calls placed and answered by a person. A call will be considered "abandoned" if it is not transferred to a live sales agent within two seconds of the recipient answering. When a call is abandoned, the telemarketer must deliver a prerecorded identification message.
Telemarketers also will be required to transmit caller ID information.
"All these measures will help consumers who want to reduce unwanted calls," Miller said.
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