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Do Not Call!
Keep Trying if You Get a Busy Signal at the Federal Website

by Ralph Engel

(June 30, 2003) Last week the federal government launched a new consumer service: a way to opt out of most (unfortunately, not all) of those annoying telemarketing calls.

All you need to do to be taken off most telemarketing databases is to log onto www.donotcall.gov. (Note that it is .gov, NOT .com) You may register up to three phone lines per visit, be they land phone lines, cell lines or fax lines, but you may also visit the site more than once. You must provide an email address, because the system sends a confirming email to which you must respond to activate the do-not-call feature.

The feds have promised that they will not use the phone numbers or email addresses for any other purposes, such as to sell them to telemarketers or spammers.

The new service has proven to be immensely popular. Starting on its first day, tens of thousands of people signed up, and the program expects to register over
50,000,000 numbers. You may have to try the website a number of times before you get through. You and a few million Americans may be trying to register at the same time.

Those who register right away get on the do-not-call list effective on October 1; those who register after September 1, 2003 will have to wait three months to get on the list.

There is conflicting information as to whether those who already registered for the New York do-not-call list have to register again, but it only takes a few moments to sign up with the federal system to be sure that you’re covered.

Certain commercial calls will still be allowed: long-distance phone companies, airlines, banks, and insurance businesses. You’ll still get calls from political organizations, charities, surveyors or companies with which you have an existing relationship.

There will be a way to get on the federal do-not-call list via a phone call instead of the Internet, but in this area we’ll have to wait until after July 7.

If only the feds would come up with an equivalent system to get rid of spam!


Ralph Engel is a long-time resident of Larchmont.

 

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