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Attorney General Lockyer Urges Californians to Sign up for Federal Do Not Call Registry

Consumers Must Register by Labor Day To Stop Telemarketing Calls Starting October 1
Friday, August 29, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today urged California consumers to sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry no later than Sunday if they want to see a reduction in unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers starting October 1, when the federal program kicks in.

"If you are sick and tired of the incessant phone calls from telemarketers pitching products and services you don't want and didn't ask for, sign up for the national Do Not Call Registry," Lockyer said. "If you want those calls to stop as soon as possible, sign up before Monday and you'll see them end starting October 1."

Under the federal program, consumers may register their personal and cellular phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Businesses that market products and services by phone must start checking the registry beginning on Monday, September 1, and remove from their company's marketing list all numbers on the national registry. The program allows businesses 30 days to "scrub" their lists of registered phone numbers, which means consumers who registered by September 1 should start seeing a reduction in commercial phone calls starting October 1. Companies will have to check the national registry every three months, so consumers who register after September 1 likely won't see a drop in telemarketing calls until three months after they registered.

In April, the Attorney General's Office began allowing California consumers to pre-register their phone numbers to ensure they would be on the national list by September 1. When the federal registry began in July, more than 2.3 million California phone numbers were placed on the national list. Californians who pre-registered with Lockyer's office do not have to re-register with the federal program.

Businesses that call numbers on the registry could face fines of up to $11,000 per phone call under state and federal law. Lockyer asked California consumers to keep pen and paper handy, and to get the name, phone number and any other information about a company the consumer believes is illegally calling.

There are exceptions for companies that have a prior business relationship with a consumer, charities and other non-commercial phone calls. For more information and to register, go to www.donotcall.gov or call the National Do Not Call Registry at 1 (888) 382-1222.

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