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Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Probably one of the Federal Trade Commission’s biggest success stories is the national Do Not Call list that must be honored by all telemarketers, except for political, charitable or survey work. The FTC not only initiated this program in a speedy and competent fashion, but have maintained its level of quality and momentum to where over 149 million telephone numbers are registered. But that could come to a screeching halt next year, when the five-year period is up, and those signing up at the beginning of the program start to fall off the list if they don’t re-register. In an piece, Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection says it is “incredibly quick and easy to do.” If you remember originally signing up, it will be just as easy, she says. I did a post on this subject in May of this year, urging the public to verify the date of their drop-off. I did so immediately—took only a few seconds—and placed a copy in my monthly follow-up file. I recommend you do the same with whatever system of follow-up you have. Here’s the FTC site again, just click on “Verify a Registration” on the left. But this could be unnecessary in the future if Pennsylvania Representative Mike Doyle has his way. He introduced legislation in September to make registrations permanent. The list is already purged monthly of disconnected numbers that have been reassigned to new customers, so on the outset nothing further would have to be done to keep it current. It’s not like someone, like me, who detests junk telephone calls would suddenly say “I want those pests back.” It has worked extremely well for our family, and the few annoyances we have had were reported to the FTC and they stopped. I feel the FTC has done a great job, and maybe the only failing of the program is the small number of cases filed against violating companies: only 30, resulting in $8.8 million is civil penalties and $8.6 million to consumers. Now when it comes to cell phones, contrary to a statement made by the FTC re. the fact that cell phone numbers are not being released, my wife and I have received numerous calls from telemarketers on each of our cell phone numbers. Neither of us wants to waste the time to give them a chance to tell us what they are selling, and in many cases the calls are automated, so we don’t know who the culprits are. If this keeps up I plan to start recording the incoming telephone number, when there is one, and file a complaint with the FTC in the same way as you do with a land line. Don’t forget to verify your registration date!

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