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Rutherford encourages area families to sign up for federal list

Monday July 7, 2003 Posted 11:30 p.m.
Springfield -State Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac) encourages area residents to sign up for the new federal -do not call- list that will soon coordinate with Illinois- pending program to lessen the number of unwanted telemarketing calls consumers receive.

-Unwanted telemarketing calls are one of the top complaints I hear from consumers. They want to know how they can stop the calls,- said Rutherford. -This convenient registry will not stop all of the unwanted calls that plaque area homeowners, but it will substantially lessen the number participating households receive.-

Illinois passed a similar law in 2002 to address the large influx of telemarketing calls that harass local residents, despite their efforts to avoid such calls. The Illinois plan was set to take effect in July, but included a $5 fee to cover the cost of running the program.

This year, lawmakers approved House Bill 3407, teaming up with the federal program so the list will be FREE.

Run by the Federal Trade Commission, the national -do not call- registry offers one-step enrollment for both state and national registries. Internet registration began June 27 at and telephone enrollment began July 7 by calling toll-free at 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236).

While registration begins now, telemarketers will not have to comply with the list until October, giving area residents plenty of time to sign up for both their home and cellular phones. Once registered, the number will remain on the list for five years.

Rutherford also warns that while enrollment in the registry will reduce the number of calls consumers receive; it will not eliminate all calls. The law provides for certain exceptions, including charitable or religious organizations, companies you have a prior business relationship with, companies that have the consumer's permission to call, calls from political parties or candidates, phone and cable companies (until July 1, 2005), real estate and insurance producers, and survey calls.

After October 2003, companies that ignore the list or the exemptions will be fined.