Question: We have all seen numerous articles about the new federal Do Not Call list where we can sign up to block calls from telemarketers. But I don't recall ever reading when, where or how we are to report violators. Can you provide this information for your readers?
Answer: A federal court ruling prevented the Federal Trade Commission from putting the registry into effect on Oct. 1 as planned.
However, on Oct. 7 the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the FTC's request to stay the order of a federal judge in Colorado who had ruled that the registry violated the First Amendment. The appeals court hasn't yet decided whether the registry violates telemarketers' right to free speech.
On Oct. 11 the FTC began accepting complaints against telemarketers who called people on the registry. Nearly 53 million people have registered so far; complaints are averaging more than 1,000 a day.
But signing up for the registry will not stop all telemarketing calls. You may still receive calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveys or companies with which you have an existing business relationship.
However, if you asked specific organizations not to call you, they are required to take your name off their call lists.
The registry is only for personal -- not business -- phone numbers, including cell phone numbers.
If you registered before Aug. 31, you can file a complaint. If you registered after Sept. 1, you have to wait three months from the date you registered.
To file a complaint, go to the FTC's Web site -- www.donotcall.gov -- then to the "File a Complaint" page, or call 888-382-1222 (for TTY, call 866-290-4236).
You must give the name or the phone number of the company that called, date of the call, and provide your registered phone number.
You are not required to give your name and address.
If you have not yet registered, you can do so by calling 888-382-1222 (for TTY, call 866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register, or register online at www.donotcall.gov.
Registration is free and good for five years, after which you must re-register. You may remove your name from the list at any time.
As to what happens to complaints, the FTC says all complaints will go into a secure online database called Consumer Sentinel, which will be available to civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.
The FTC does not resolve individual problems, but it says "your complaint will help us investigate the company and could lead to law enforcement action." Telemarketers face a fine of $11,000 per call by disregarding the registry.
To Sheila Curtis. On Oct. 11 she located my car keys, which I had lost at Kapiolani Park. She figured out which car they belonged to, flagged down a police officer, turned them in and left a note on my car, explaining whom to contact at HPD to get my keys back. I really appreciated what she did. -- T. Tomasa
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