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Do-not-call list available sooner

/ Source: The Associated Press

Federal regulators are speeding up the launch of a national do-not-call list that will block many unwanted telemarketing calls.

THE FEDERAL TRADE Commission said Monday that telephone registration for the free service will be available nationwide in early July, nearly two months earlier than originally planned.

The FTC plans to launch a Web site on July 1 so consumers can register online. Telephone registration in states west of the Mississippi River will begin at the same time. Nationwide registration should begin a week later.

Beginning in September, telemarketers will have to check the list every three months to determine who does not want to be called. Those who call listed people could be fined up to $11,000 for each violation. Consumers would be able to file complaints by phone or online to an automated system.

The government said consumers should see a decrease in telemarketing calls after it begins enforcing the do-not-call list in October.

More than two dozen states already have their own do-not-call lists or legislation pending that would create them. Most states plan to add their lists to the national registry, which will be financed by fees collected from telemarketers.

Telemarketers say the registry will devastate their industry and have sued the FTC on grounds the registry amounts to an unlawful restriction on free speech.

There are exceptions to the FTC’s do-not-call protections.

A company may call someone on the list if that person has bought, leased or rented from the company within the past 18 months. Telemarketers also can call people if they have inquired about or applied for something from the company during the past three months.

Charities, surveys and calls on behalf of politicians also are exempt.

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