Do Not Call Registry gets wake-up call

If you signed up for the federal or your state’s Do Not Call Registry a few years ago, you might want to think about refreshing it.

Pennsylvanians this week got a wake up call, so to speak from the state’s Attorney General Tom Corbett who kicked off a public awareness campaign designed to remind people what many have forgotten or never knew - that the 2002 law set registrations to expire after five years. That is of course unless you want to start hearing from those telemarketers as you sit down to dinner.

Corbett said about 2 million people signed up in the immediate aftermath of the law taking effect and those who do not act by Sept. 15 will have their numbers dropped from the registry on Nov. 1.

The Pennsylvania action is a reminder that the National Do Not Call Registry has a five year life span as well. The Federal Trade Commission is set to being a nation campaign in Spring 2008 to remind all US citizens to refresh their federal Do Not Call Registry standing.The FTC has also warned landline and cell users to be on the lookout for Do Not Call Registry scams.

A recent report said emails have been circulating saying cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and a separate cell phone registry has been set up in conjunction with the national Do Not Call Registry.

The FTC says neither of these actions are true. In congressional testimony this week the FTC said of the Do Not Call Registry: While the Commission appreciates the high rate of compliance with the Do Not Call provisions, it vigorously enforces compliance to ensure the program’s ongoing effectiveness. Violating the Do Not Call requirements subjects telemarketers to civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.

Twenty-seven of the Commission’s telemarketing cases have alleged Do Not Call violations, resulting in $8.8 million in civil penalties and $8.6 million in redress or disgorgement ordered. A Harris Interactive Survey released in January 2006 showed that 94% of American adults have heard of the Registry and 76% have signed up for it .

”The testimony states that the committee is in the process of reauthorizing the Do Not Call Implementation Act. “The Commission believes that the bill can be strengthened by statutorily mandating the fees to be charged to telemarketers accessing the National Registry, and specifically mandating such fees in an amount sufficient to enable the Commission to enforce the registry.”

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