Americans continued to register for the federal government’s do-not-call list Saturday - apparently without difficulty - as they rushed to block unwanted telemarketing calls beginning Oct. 1.
“CONSUMER REGISTRATIONS continue to be high as we expected,” Federal Trade Commission spokeswoman Cathy McFarlane said late Saturday.
“We have no reports of any significant problems. There are some reports of online sluggishness, but telephone line registrations were experiencing no problems.”
Some consumers reported having to log onto the designed Web site two or three times before getting through, while others got through on the first try. Once connected, the process takes just a few seconds.
In any case, there was no particular hurry. Consumers have a little over two months to register their numbers to be on the initial don’t-call list.
The Web site is www.donotcall.gov.
The toll-free number is 1-888-382-1222, but for now is available only in states west of the Mississippi River, including Minnesota and Louisiana. To ensure the system can handle the volume of calls, the number will not operate nationwide until July 7.
Consumers calling the toll-free number must call from the telephone number they want registered.
The FTC launched the registry shortly after midnight Friday and the initial public response was strong, with the Web site initially logging about 1,000 hits each second.
By 5 p.m. EDT Friday, 735,000 phone numbers had been registered.
McFarlane said the FTC was not keeping a running tally over the weekend, but would issue updated figures on Monday.
She emphasized that consumers who register their numbers by Aug. 31 will be on the list that telemarketers have to start using Oct. 1. But people can register their phone numbers any time afterward.
After then, telemarketers who illegally call consumers on the list could be fined up to $11,000. They have to check the government’s do-not-call list every three months to update their own lists.
The commission expects up to 60 million phone numbers to be registered in the first year.
Registrations will have to be renewed every five years.
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