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Finally: No more telemarketing calls
A new 'Do Not Call' registry will let you eat in peace.
March 26, 2003: 1:32 PM EST
By Leslie Haggin Geary, CNN/Money Staff Writer

New York (CNN/Money) - Tired of telemarketing calls? You'll soon be able to put a stop to them.

Starting in July, individuals will be able to register with a new national "Do Not Call" registry run by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency announced Tuesday. And by October, it will be illegal for telemarketers to phone any household that's registered for the program.

Consumers will be able to sign up for the free program by calling a toll-free phone number or by going on line. The phone number and Web address will released by the FTC in June. (To get updated information about the program, click here.)

Online registration is expected to be immediately available nationwide but the FTC will phase in the call-in registration region-by-region. By mid-August, the phone registration is expected to be available nationwide.

Individuals who register with the program will remain on the Do Not Call list for five years or until they change their phone number, at which point they can re-register.

Under the new rules, telemarketers will be required to check the Do Not Call registry and update their telemarketing lists every 90 days to remove names of individuals who've signed up. So approximately three months after you register you should stop getting unwanted calls. The FTC would fine telemarketers $11,000 each time they called a household that's on the list.

Meanwhile, consumers who want to limit telemarketing calls they receive may be able to put their name on "do not call" lists for individual companies. Twenty-seven states, including Missouri, Texas and New York and Louisiana, have "do not call" lists in place. To find out if your state participates, click here.

The "Do Not Call" program has evolved over time. In 2002, the FTC began looking into ways to protect consumers' privacy from unwanted calls. Later in the year, the agency finalized details of the program, which was officially announced last December. But the program could not begin without funding. This past February, Congress allowed the FTC to offset program costs by collecting up to $18.1 million from telemarketers.  Top of page

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