Ohio Agency Urges Creation of Do-Not-Call List for Local Providers

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An Ohio consumer advocacy agency has recommended that the state Public Utilities Commission institute a statewide do-not-call list for local telephone service providers that use telemarketing to hawk products to customers.

The proposal comes on the heels of an $8 million fine levied against service provider Ameritech, Chicago, for alleged service problems. Ameritech has 2.7 million residential lines available in Ohio.

Consumers had complained that Ameritech tried to market products to those who called the company to get service problems fixed, according to Robert S. Tongren, Ohio consumers' counsel. Customers who called call center agents about a problem might get a pitch to sign up for call waiting, Tongren said.

Now the state is taking aim at outbound telemarketing calls.

If the commission institutes the list, only local telephone service providers would be affected, Tongren said. The commission could make a decision within two months.

"This is a very limited approach, in our opinion," Tongren said.

Ohio has a do-not-call list for energy consumers, Tongren said. Some 37,000 customers of Dayton Power & Light Co., Dayton, OH, have signed up for the list.

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