Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PA AG Promotes "Do Not Call" Renewals

On August 1, 2007, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Tom Corbett, held a Press Conference to encourage Pennsylvanians to re-subscribe to this Commonwealth's "Do Not Call" list.

He reminded residents about the five-year expiration deadline for each previous subscriber of Pennsylvania's Do Not Call list, and the need to re-subscribe in order to continue that form of consumer privacy protection beyond the initial sign-up period.

Attorney General Tom Corbett urged residents to review their registration with the PA "Do Not Call" list, and re-register any numbers that are about the expire.

Corbett explained that registration on the Do Not Call list is only valid for five years from the date of initial registration. Consumers who first signed-up for the program in 2002 must re-register by Sept. 15, 2007, or their number will be removed from the list.

The "Do Not Call" law was created to reduce the number of unsolicited and unwanted telemarketing calls. Nearly 4-million PA residents are currently registered on the Do Not Call list.

According to the Press Release posted on the PA AG's website on August 2, 2007, the Pennsylvania Do Not Call law went into effect five years ago.
[I]t allowed consumers, for the first time, to significantly reduce the unsolicited and unwanted telemarketing calls they received at home.

The Office of Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the
Do Not Call law and handling registrations.

One million Pennsylvanians registered for the list in the first two weeks alone, and now it is time to re-register. * * *

That Press Release well-summarizes the purpose, benefits, & enforcement of PA's Do Not Call law. It emphasizes the periodic purging of the list that occurs for subscribers who have been on the list for five years; and urges re-subscription.
Consumers who were among the first two million Pennsylvanians to register in the summer and early fall of 2002 may re-register online at www.attorneygeneral.gov, by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-888-777-3406, or by mailing their name, mailing address, telephone number and signature to the Attorney General's Office.

Corbett said that there is an added registration feature that is only available on the website, which allows consumers to verify their enrollment to find out when they first registered for the list.

Online registrants will also be able to read
Frequently Asked Questions, which explain the Do Not Call list and its functions.

Corbett noted that each person who registers is allowed to include up to seven residential and wireless telephone numbers.
You can re-subscribe here. You can check the status of a phone number in the PA Do Not Call Program here.

Pennsylvania media picked up on the story after the Press Conference, and reported the public's overwhelming response in re-registrations. For example, see
"Do Not Call lines jammed", by Kori Walter, published August 3, 2007, in the Bucks County Courier-Times.

In the article
"Do-not-call list proves to be popular destination", by Patricia Sabatini, published August 02, 2007, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the renewal frenzy was described.
Pennsylvanians re-registered for the state's do-not-call list in droves yesterday, apparently trying to make sure dinner time didn't become a free-for-all for telemarketers again.

Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., nearly 4,000 people had registered for the list by phone, while almost 77,000 had signed up online, according to Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the state Attorney General's office.

Even though the phone system had 70 operators, at times the lines were overloaded and callers got a busy signal or recording telling them to call back. The state hired a call center to handle calls to the registration hot line, 1-888-777-3406.

No problems were reported with the new enhanced Web site at www.attorneygeneral.gov, which was taking an average of 80 requests per second but was designed to handle up to 10,000 per second, Mr. Frederiksen said.

He urged people having trouble getting through on the phone to try again another day.

"You have until the 15th of September," he said. "There is no reason to panic." * * *

Elsewhere on the PA AG's website, various other aspects of PA's Do Not Call law & program are explained:
About a year after PA's law took effect in 2002, a federal law was passed with similar consumer protections. Separately, you can sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry, which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency. See: Information from the FTC, and Information for Consumers.

The federal protection from telemarketing will last five years from the registration date, and can be renewed.

The National Do Not Call Registry provides a separate online registration form that allows listing of three phone numbers, but requires confirmation using an email address that you provide.

After completing this form,
you will receive an email message regarding each submitted number from Register@donotcall.gov. To complete the registration, you must open each email and click on the link provided, which then verifies your request. This verification must be done within 72 hours, or the registration will fail.

I just renewed my PA registrations, and entered the federal program too. Consider doing the same.

Update: 08/20/07:

The PA Attorney General's Office recently announced an enforcement action against a telemarketer who allegedly violated PA's law in making direct telephone solicitations.

On August 14, 2007, in a Press Release, entitled "
Attorney General Corbett announces fines against two businesses for "Do Not Call" violations; failing to register under the Health Club Act", it was announced that Attorney General Tom Corbett prosecuted a Belle Vernon health club owner and a Florida-based telemarketing firm, which must pay investigation costs and fines to resolve complaints from consumers who received solicitation calls while enrolled on the Pennsylvania Do Not Call list.