• 57°

Americans embrace no call lists

Those never wanting to have a meal interrupted by pesky telemarketers again may soon get their wish.

On Tuesday, the Federal Trades Commission launched a federal no call list, the government's first list of consumers who want to block unsolicited sales calls.

People have registered more than 10 million phone numbers with the national do-not-call list in its first four days, the FTC reported earlier this week. The FTC estimates 60 million Americans will sign up for the new plan.

Exemptions from the list include calls from charities and pollsters and calls on behalf of politicians. A company also may call someone on the no-call list if that person has bought, leased or rented from the company within the past 18 months or has inquired about or applied for something during the past three months.

Ohio lawmakers are also working on a statewide do not call list. The legislation passed 32-1 in the Ohio Senate, and the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure when they return from summer recess.

The law would give the state jurisdiction over telemarketing calls made from Ohio companies to Ohioans. Ohio would use the national registry to regulate these calls Those who sign up for the national list would be covered by the state law.

A representative from the Ohio Consumers' Counsel will discuss the legislation to establish an Ohio do-not-call list at the Lawrence County Senior Citizens Center in Sybene at 11 a.m. July 8.

According to Erin Biehl, public information specialist with the OCC, attendees can expect to learn about telemarketing protections included in Ohio's proposed do-not-call list, how they can support the passage of Senate Bill 28, additional tips to handle unwelcome callers and information about the national do-not-call registry.

"We want to have a representative there to answer any questions and encourage consumers to talk to their representatives about Senate Bill 28," Biehl said. "As a constituent, we want consumers to tell their representatives how important it is to have this passed."

More than a dozen states with do-not-call lists plan to add their lists to the national registry this summer, the FTC said. Consumers on those lists need not register again.

For more information, consumers may contact 1-877-PICKOCC (1-877-742-5622) toll free in Ohio or visit the OCC Web site at www.pickocc.org.

Consumers can sign up for the federal registry by logging on to donotcall.gov or,

by calling 1-888-382-1222 beginning Monday.

People who sign up this summer should see a decrease in telemarketing calls after the FTC begins enforcing the list on Oct. 1. The service will block about 80 percent of the calls, the FTC said.

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

The telemarketing industry estimates the do-not-call list could cut its business in half, costing them up to $50 billion in sales each year, said Louis Mastria, a spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.