2003-08-08 / Columnists

Notes On Consumer Affairs

By Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer
Notes On Consumer Affairs By Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer

Audrey PhefferAudrey Pheffer

Due to the consistent barrage of telemarketing calls, New York instituted the extremely successful Do Not Call Registry. In an effort to enhance the benefits of this program, New York will merge its registry with the National Do Not Call Registry.

There are two ways consumers are added to the National Do Not Call Registry. First, if you have already registered for the New York Do Not Call Registry, your number is automatically transferred to the National Registry. Secondly, if you are not currently on the New York registry, you can register by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) or by visiting the registry website at DONOTCALL.GOV. You can register your home telephone number as well as your cellular phone number. The only identifying information that will appear on the registry will be the phone number you register.

After you register, telemarketers will have up to three months to remove your phone number from their call lists. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York State will begin enforcing the National Do Not Call Registry on Oct. 1, 2003 for all phone numbers registered by August 31, 2003. Placing your number on the registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. You may still receive calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors, insurance companies, and companies with which you have an existing business relationship.

Even if you place your telephone number(s) on the National Do Not Call Registry, you may give a compnay written permission to call you. Conversly, if you do not place your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, you can still restrict telemarketers from calling by asking them to put you on their company’s do not call list.

Please keep in mind that the FTC, the federal agency that is creating the National Do Not Call Registry, does not allow private companies or other third parties to "pre-regrister" consumers for the registry. Be wary of telephone calls that ask you for personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers or telephone calling card numbers. The caller is trying to scam you into giving them information that may be used to run up debts in your name or otherwise steal your identity.

Additionally, do not share your personal information if someone calls you claiming to represent a "Do Not Call" registry, an organization to stop fraud or even the FTC itself. If you get such a call, either hang up immediately or write down the caller’s organization and phone number and report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP, or to the New York State Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-771-7755.

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