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National 'no-call' list on track

March 27, 2003

FTC will begin enforcing telemarketers' use of registry by October

Inman News Features

The Federal Trade Commission announced that a national "do-not-call" registry will be available to telemarketers and other sellers in September 2003, and that they will be required to "scrub" their call lists against the names on the registry at least once every 90 days.

FTC and states will begin enforcing the national do-not-call provisions of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule in October 2003, and violators will be subject to a fine of up to $11,000 per violation, according to the FTC.

Beginning in July, consumers will be able to put their telephone numbers on the national registry, which telemarketers subsequently will be required to access. As of October, it will be illegal for most telemarketers to call a number listed on the registry.

The new federal no-call restrictions won't much affect real estate brokers and agents who use cold-calling to generate business because the rule applies only to telemarketing calls that cross state lines, and state laws generally have an exemption that gives real estate practitioners an out from the more onerous no-call provisions.

FTC first announced the registry in December 2002 as a way to give consumers a choice about whether to receive most telemarketing calls. Consumers listed on the registry should begin to receive fewer unwanted calls approximately three months after the register, according to FTC.

Consumers will be able to register via the Internet or toll-free phone numbers that will be phased in by region. The FTC said that consumers' names will remain on the registry for five years, or until they change their phone number. At that point, consumers will be able to renew their registration.

Copyright Inman News Service

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