48.4 MILLION PHONE NUMBERS ENTERED IN DO-NOT-CALL LIST

733,333 Numbers a Day Registered During First 66 Days

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- More than 48.4 million phone numbers were entered in the National Do Not Call Registry during its first 66 days of operation, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
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Web site registry
The registry, which opened a Web site at http://www.donotcall.gov on June 27, is designed to enable consumers to block telemarketers from making calls to their home phone numbers. Under the new federal regulations, telemarketers must remove all do-not-call entries from their own phone lists.

Telemarketing companies are subject to an $11,000 fine for each call that violates the FTC's do-not-call provisions.

During the first phase of the program, consumers who signed up between June 27 and August 31 will be on the list that telemarketers must use for the first round of removals starting Oct. 1. After that, telemarketers must scrub their lists against the do-not-call list every 90 days.

30,000 an hour
During the first 66 days, consumers registered to block telemarketing calls at an average rate of 733,333 phone numbers a day -- or more than 30,000 an hour. Those numbers do not include an additional 9 million phone numbers transferred into the federal list from existing state do-not-call lists.

Because the Registry keeps track only of phone numbers and not households, it is not known exactly how many individual households have taken advantage of the new anti-telemarketing system. There are approximately 105 million U.S. households.

Both the FTC and the American Teleservices Association declined to estimate the number of individual households involved with the 48.4 million phone numbers registered to date.

Legal challenge
The teleservices association, which represents companies that sell by telephone, and the Direct Marketing Association have filed lawsuits challenging the FTC and Federal Communications Commission rules that established do-not-call lists. A judge has scheduled a hearing on the ATA's lawsuit for Sept. 12.

"The disappointing fact is that people will have misconceptions about what it will mean in terms of calls that still come in," said Tim Searcy, executive director of the American Teleservices Association. Searcy added that "more confusion than satisfaction will be created" by the system and estimated that such telemarketing blocking could result in the loss of 2 million jobs.

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