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'Do-not-call' lists are helpful

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

(Photo)
Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter clears up confusion between state and national "do-not-call" lists during a Terre Haute news conference Tuesday.

TERRE HAUTE -- Once an Indiana resident signs up on the Do-Not call list, banning telemarketers from calling their homes, it blocks many of the calls that the state's attorney general, Steve Carter, stresses can be in violation of an individual's privacy if unwarranted.

Carter pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission recognizes the state laws and allows for enforcement at that level. The FTCs recent action was prompted by concern that many states lack laws that provide telephone privacy protection, he explained, adding he'd like to clear up any confusion individuals may have between new federal "do-not-call" registry and the state's Telephone Privacy law. For one, Indiana's Do-Not call law is more restrictive than its counterpart.

"The federal list will certainly help people in states that don't have a law like Indiana's," he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday at the Vigo County Annex Building. "But, we have a more premier law giving citizens more privacy from those unsolicited telemarketing calls."

Indiana's list has four exemptions to the no-call rule: real estate and insurance agents; charities that use their own employees or volunteers to make the calls; and newspapers that use their own employees to make the calls. At the Federal level, there are several groups allowed to continue calling, including charities that use professional fundraisers and businesses that an individual has had contact with in the last 18 months.

Carter pointed out that over half of the state's residential phone numbers are registered on the Indiana list, equaling over 1.3 million telephone numbers.

"I encourage anyone who is interested in reducing unsolicited telemarketing calls to make sure they are registered on the state list for that protection," he said.

Companies in violation of the law face penalties of hundreds of dollars if they contact individuals on the do-not-call list. His office has received several complaints since the legislation was enforced January 2002 and will investigate any report of noncompliance to the law.

"The law is working very well, most telemarketers are complying," Carter said.

Note this:

Online registration for the Do-Not call list is available at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral



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