Skip to comments.Americans flock to register with anti-telemarketing do-not-call list
Posted on 06/28/2003 3:37:53 AM PDT by Clive
WASHINGTON (AP) - Public frustration with telemarketers erupted Friday as Americans hurried to sign up for a new national do-not-call list, registering about 635,000 telephone numbers in the program's first 14 hours.
Registration opened just after midnight. As of noon Friday, the program's Web site was being visited 1,000 times every second, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which operates the registry. "Unwanted telemarketing calls are intrusive, they are annoying, and they're all too common," President George W. Bush said as he formally launched the list at a White House ceremony.
"We're taking practical action to address this problem."
Consumers can register their home or cellphone numbers with the free government service by visiting the Web site www.donotcall.gov. Telephone registration using a toll-free number - 1-888-382-1222 - will operate nationwide by July 7, the FTC said.
Slightly more than half of the numbers registered by Friday afternoon were done by phone, the FTC said.
The Web site was responding slowly because of "extraordinary amounts of traffic," the FTC said. The commission was scrambling to add more computer equipment to handle the load.
"Consumers do not need to sign up today," the agency said in a statement.
People who sign up this summer should see a decrease in telemarketing calls after the FTC begins enforcing the list on Oct. 1. The service will block about 80 per cent of the calls, the FTC said.
On the Web site, consumers provide the numbers they want protected and an e-mail address to receive a confirmation message. The site also lets them verify that a number is registered or remove a number.
Consumers using the toll-free number must call from the telephone number they want registered.
The commission expects up to 60 million phone numbers to be registered in the first year.
Registrations must be renewed every five years.
Telemarketers attempt up to 104 million calls in the United States every day, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The industry has said the registry will devastate its business and has sued the FTC, saying the program is an unlawful restriction on free speech.
The do-not-call initiative has provoked sharp concern among telemarketers in Canada - particularly in Atlantic Canada, where call centres making cross-border pitches have been a major growth industry.
Although Canada has no similar government registry, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has been studying the issue for two years and plans to announce new measures sometime this year.
The Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to add its authority to the U.S. do-not-call list, blocking telemarketing calls from within a state - the FTC could only police interstate calls - and from industries whose calls the agency regulates, including airlines, banks and telephone companies.
Beginning in September, telemarketers will have to check the list every three months to see who doesn't want to be called. Those who pester listed people could be fined $11,000 for each violation. Consumers would file complaints to an automated phone or online system.
Exemptions from the do-not-call requirement include calls from charities, pollsters and politicians.
Registered consumers also can give permission to get calls from certain companies. And a company may call someone on the no-call list if that person has bought, leased or rented from the company in the past 18 months. Telemarketers also may call people who have inquired about or applied for something from the company during the past three months.
Consumers can avoid those calls by asking to be put on an individual company's do-not-call list.
Congress authorized the FTC to collect up to $18.1 million from telemarketers to pay the program's expenses in the first year.
You're not really registered till you can confirm with the code to be sent in the email.
Typical spammer speak. The Courts have already ruled that the First Amendment does not furnish any rights to free or cheap advertising, or any rights for commercial "speech".
My heart is warmed by the 1000 hit-per-second responses to the web site. It shows the revulsion the Public has for these vermin.
As for the cross-border Canadian boiler room operations that have annoyed me with all manner of investment scams, etc., they can go get jobs in a lumber camp where they belong. Why?
"Americans-I hate those bastards".
Never call me.
I listened to C-Span this morning and the amount of calls from Democrats was unbelievable. Their newest complaint is the loss of jobs. Unemployment is the slant that they are putting on President Bush. While I may agree in theory to this, I can't believe the venom of this.
I saw on another board how a few self proclaimed liberals wanted to love this service, but they just couldn't do it because President Bush was backing it. They are so afraid that President Bush will get praised for anything.
Another example of this is the Medicare Bill (which I do not agree with BTW), they are now terrified that Bush is doing something that 8 years of Clinton failed to do. They now attack it as not enough. They fail to say that "not enough" is better (or worse) than nothing at all.
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