Monday, December 17, 2007

House Passes Bill to Eliminate Need to Re-Register for Do Not Call List

This posting was written by John Scorza, CCH Washington Correspondent.

The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would eliminate the automatic removal of telephone numbers from the Do Not Call registry and the need for consumers to re-register their numbers. The House also passed a related bill that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to continue to maintain and operate the Do Not Call program, which prohibits telemarketers from calling consumers who have registered their phone numbers with the agency.

The FTC established the registry in 2003 and began allowing consumers to list their phone numbers for a five-year period. As originally devised, consumers would be required to re-register after five years. However, the FTC in October announced that it would suspend the deletion of expired numbers, pending congressional action.

The House on December 11 approved the Do Not Call Improvement Act (H.R. 3541), which would eliminate the expiration of listings on the registry. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved identical legislation (S. 2096) in October.

“By signing up with the National Do Not Call registry, more than 130 million Americans have told telecommuters, ‘Don’t call us—we’ll call you,’” said Representative Mike Doyle (Pennsylvania), sponsor of H.R. 3541. “Let’s save them the hassle of signing up again and again.” Doyle said he expects the Senate to move quickly to pass the legislation.

The related bill approved by the House—the Do Not Call Registry Fee Extension Act (H.R. 2601)—would give the FTC the permanent authority to continue collecting fees from telemarketers to operate the registry. The agency’s authority to collect fees and maintain the registry expired in September, the end of the fiscal year.

“I appreciate this broad bipartisan support for this legislation,” remarked Representative Cliff Stearns (Florida), sponsor of H.R. 2601. “I have heard countless expressions of gratitude for providing a means to stop these unwanted calls at home. Those who have added their numbers to the registry have seen a noticeable decrease in calls interrupting their family life.”

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