The National Do Not Call Registry

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People all over the country can now enroll in the national "do not call" registry that will prevent telemarketers from calling. Many states have their own Do Not Call lists, and Arizona is one of those states.

Here are the answers to some common questions about the national "do not call" registry:

How Do I Sign Up

Everyone in the country may begin signing up for the​ "do not call" registry online. There is also a toll-free number for "do not call' registration. Call 1-888-382-1222. If you register by phone, you will have to call from the telephone number that you wish to register in the system. Be wary of companies offering to register you for a fee. You can do it yourself, and there is no charge for signing up for this registry.

Do I Have to Re-Register Every Year?

No. Assuming your phone number doesn't change, your registration for the "do not call" list is good. You can remove your number from the "do not call" registry at any time you choose.

Will Those Annoying Calls Stop Immediately?

Sorry, no. Telemarketing companies are only required to check the list every 90 days to update their files. At startup, then, you might not see much decrease in telemarketing calls until September or October.

What Happens If They Still Call?

The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the national "do not call" registry, will prosecute those companies that ignore the law. They can be fined $11,000 for each call they make that violates the law. After the first 90 days of the system's operation, if you still receive unwanted telemarketing calls, you will be able to file a complaint with the FTC online or by calling a toll-free number.

Beware: there is a scam going around about people contacting you to try to get you to give them personal information in exchange for assistance in reporting telemarketers and supposedly getting you money for it.

So I'll Never Get Another Sales Call Again For as Long as I Live, Right?

That's not quite how it works. Some companies are exempt from the law. For example, companies with which you have had a business relationship can call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or payment. Even if there was a relationship and the company legally called, you may ask the company not to call again, and they must comply. By the way, this is true whether you are on the "do not call" registry or not.

There are some other exceptions, too, like airlines, long distance phone companies and insurance companies. What this law was designed to do was to keep those professional telemarketing companies from calling you, and it should accomplish that.

Some More Encouraging News

Even if you don't register for the "do not call" list, the new Telemarketing Sales Rule should help eliminate some other annoyances. For instance, do you find that you are often answering the phone and there's nothing there but some kind of mechanical hang-up? That happens because telemarketers have automated dialing systems, and the system is calling even though there may not be an operator to pick up the call and talk to you.

Now, telemarketers will be required to connect the call to a sales representative within two seconds from the time you say "hello." If they don't pick up the phone, a recorded message must play to let you know who's calling and the telephone number they're calling from. The recording can't be a sales pitch. Another beneficial rule for consumers is the one that specifies that a telemarketer will be required to transmit their telephone number and if possible, their name, to your caller ID service. This rule will take a year to go into effect. This will go a long way in assisting with enforcement of the law since you'll have a phone number to file a complaint if you feel the call was a violation of existing law.

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