FTC No-Call Registry Nears 20 Million

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Americans living in the Eastern United States began adding their names to the Federal Trade Commission's national no-call registry by phone yesterday, raising the total to nearly 20 million.


As of 10:30 a.m. yesterday, 19.6 million telephone numbers had been logged to the registry, the FTC said. Those figures don't include numbers from the many state no-call lists that will be merged with the national registry, though the FTC said it doesn't know yet how many names are unique.


The registry has accepted Internet registrations since June 27, the same day that phone sign-ups were allowed for states west of the Mississippi River. The toll-free number, 888/382-1222, was rolled out in stages to ensure the system could handle the volume of calls. Callers to the number must use the phone they want registered.


Of phone numbers registered so far, 89 percent have been to the FTC's www.donotcall.gov Web site. The FTC expects 60 million phone numbers to be registered in the first year. There are 166 million residential phone numbers in the United States. The FTC begins enforcing the list Oct. 1.


Meanwhile, the Direct Marketing Association yesterday praised the Federal Communications Commission for taking steps toward creating a uniform national policy regarding interstate telephone marketing calls.


"The DMA is pleased with the FCC's clarification that its rules pre-empt state laws for interstate telemarketing," Louis Mastria, director of public and international affairs at the DMA, said in a statement.


The DMA made its statement after a preliminary review of the FCC's Federal Register notice to implement a national do-not-call registry.


In its order, the FCC said: "...any state regulation of interstate telemarketing calls that differs from our rules almost certainly would conflict with and frustrate the federal scheme and almost certainly would be pre-empted."


The DMA also expressed support for the FCC's efforts to create uniformity in the implementation of the new do-not-call registry, but said state lists should be entirely pre-empted.


"By applying the national do-not-call registry to all calls, both interstate and intrastate, there is no justification for continued existence of the state lists." Mastria said.


The DMA said the hodge-podge of state-level do-not-call lists will continue to be a source of confusion for consumers and marketers alike.


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