FTC to begin taking complaints today on do-not-call list violations

October 11, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

After nearly two weeks of court-ordered delays, the Federal Trade Commission is to begin taking complaints today from people who have placed phone numbers on the national do-not-call registry but have continued to receive pitches from telemarketers.

The Federal Communications Commision has been taking some complaints in recent days, as well, but because it does not manage the registry, its enforcement efforts are more limited.

The government planned to put the registry into effect Oct. 1, but a federal court ruling in a lawsuit brought by the telemarketing industry delayed the enforcement of the do-not-call list by the FTC, the agency in charge of establishing the registry and making it available to telemarketers.

On Tuesday, however, an appeals court lifted the stay imposed on the trade commission and scheduled arguments on the constitutionality of the federal regulation for Nov. 10.

Meanwhile, the FTC says it will carry out its enforcement work aggressively.

Because of the earlier court ruling, the FTC was not able to make the registry - which contains about 50 million phone numbers - available to telemarketers for the past 10 days. The agency said telemarketers who did not have the list would have until next Friday to download it from the Web and be subject to enforcement.

Officials said they planned to enforce the regulations against the many telemarketers who downloaded the list before Oct. 1. Telemarketers that call phone numbers on the list face fines up to $11,000 per violation.

The FCC, meanwhile, said it received 2,665 complaints between Oct. 1 and Thursday, and has sent about 20 letters to telemarketers seeking information about complaints against them.

Consumers who have signed up for the national do-not-call registry can file a complaint with the FTC or the FCC.

To contact the FTC, call 1-888-382-1222 or go to www. donotcall.gov on the Internet. Information needed: The telemarketer's name or phone number, the date of the call and the consumer's phone number.

To contact the FCC, call 1-888-225-5322 or send an email to donotcall@fcc.gov. Information needed: The same as for the FTC, and the consumer's name, address, daytime phone number, phone number involved in the complaint and the date the consumer signed up.

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