Congress Makes 'Do Not Call' List Permanent

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 02/09/2008 - 2:48am.

New bill prohibits removal from registry.

If you feared a renewed onslaught from telemarketers, solicitors, and scammers calling during dinnertime, take heart -- Congress has passed legislation making the "Do Not Call" telephone number registry permanent.

The "Do Not Call Improvement Act of 2007," passed in the Senate yesterday by unanimous consent, would bar removal of any number from the federal "Do Not Call" registry "unless the number is invalid, disconnected, or reassigned; or the individual to whom the number is assigned so requests."

The legislation also requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which oversees the registry, to make periodic sweeps of the list for invalid or disconnected numbers, and to report to Congress on its efforts to keep the list up-to-date.

The FTC had originally planned to start purging the registry of numbers unless subscribers renewed their registration after five years, but the agency later backtracked and said it would support maintaining the registry permanently.

The bill was sent to President Bush, who is expected to sign it into law. North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield said the registry is one of the most popular laws in U.S. history , and failure to extend it could've brought on "the wrath of millions of angry constituents."

The House also passed and sent to the president a bill to make permanent the authority of the Federal Trade Commission to collect fees to run the program.

"My legislation keeps the program free, simple and effective for consumers," said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

Telemarketers pay up to $17,050 in fees to help maintain the registry. Violations of the registry, such as calling numbers that are on the list, can cost the offender up to $11,000 per violation. The FTC has collected $8.8 million in civil penalties and $8.6 million in consumer redress from violations of the list since its inception.

To sign up for the "Do Not Call" registry, visit the registry Web site.


 

By Martin H. Bosworth - ConsumerAffairs.Com- February 7, 2008 - posted at www.consumeraffairs.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 02/09/2008 - 2:48am.