updated 7/21/2005 6:42:41 PM ET 2005-07-21T22:42:41

The nation's largest direct marketing group set up a registry Thursday to remove dead people from its telemarketing, e-mail and direct mail lists — for $1.

The Direct Marketing Association, which has more than 5,200 members in the United States and 44 other countries, said its Deceased Do-Not-Contact list was designed to help families dealing with the loss of a loved one.

"The DMA recognizes how emotionally and logistically difficult the process of handling someone's final affairs can be," Pat Kachura, the group's senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs, said in a statement.

The organization said the $1 fee was for credit card verification, and was designed to prevent fraud.

"We're concerned people will abuse the list, putting the names of friends on it, that kind of thing," Kachura said in a telephone interview. "So we're very concerned that those who are on the list are those who should be on the list."

The idea follows the government's popular Do Not Call list, which allows consumers to sign up online and imposes fines on telemarketers when they call those consumers. The list, set up in 2003, has more than 97 million numbers.

The DMA said it would also provide its list of the deceased to companies that are not members of the organization.

Mitch Katz, a spokesman for the Federal Trade Commission, which set up the Do Not Call list, said relatives and spouses can still register the deceased's phone number on the list, provided they live in the same residence.

"It's horribly upsetting to someone who's alive if you get a call and it's for your husband who has passed away," he said. "I can imagine why people wouldn't want to get those calls."

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