2008-04-18 / Columnists

Notes On Consumer Affairs

Don't Worry About Renewing Do Not Call Registry New Federal Law Keeps It Active
Commentary By Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer

AUDREY PHEFFER AUDREY PHEFFER Have you received an email message claiming that millions of phone numbers registered with the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry are about to be removed from the registry? Thanks to a new federal law, this will not be the case.

The Do Not Call Improvement Act of 2007 provides that once a phone number is registered, the registration will never expire.

Prior to the law's enactment, consumers needed to re-register their phone numbers every five years.

Have you registered your home phone number on the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry? If so, you're not alone, as the New York State Consumer Protection Board recently announced that nearly nine million New York phone numbers have been registered.

This year marks the seven year anniversary of the implementation of this extremely successful program. Can't remember whether you registered your home phone or cell phone number yet?

You can verify your registration by visiting the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) DNC website at www. donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382- 1222. Click on the "Verify A Registration" button on the left side of the webpage.

Haven't registered yet? The first thing to remember is that the Registry is only for home phone numbers. (You can register your cell phone number if you wish, but telemarketers are largely prohibited from calling cell phones under federal law in any case.) There are two methods for registering your number. You can register online with a valid email address at www.donot call.gov or over the phone by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you choose to register by phone, you must call from the phone number you wish to register. For instance, you cannot register your home phone number using your work telephone.

Federal telemarketing rules allow telemarketers to update their telephone lists every thirty-one days. If it has been thirty-one days since you registered, and a telemarketer calls you, you can file a complaint at the FTC's DNC website, or by calling the FTC's DNC phone number. Make sure you have the name or the telephone number of the company that called you and the date and time you received the call. Without this information your complaint cannot be processed properly.

Be on the lookout for fraudsters claiming that they can register your phone number for you. The FTC does not allow private companies or other third parties to register a phone number on a consumer's behalf. You should disregard these solicitations, which often involve a fee. The DNC Registry is a free service available to all consumers.

For more information on the DNC Registry, to file a DNC complaint, or to report a possible scam, visit the FTC's DNC website at www.donot c all.gov or call 1-888-382-1222. You may also file a DNC complaint with the Federal Communications Commission by e-mail (fccinfo@fcc.gov), telephone (1-888-225-5322), via an electronic complaint form at www. fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html, or mail: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.

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