WASHINGTON – People who register to be left alone by telemarketers can expect that to start happening sooner under new rules announced Thursday.
Starting Jan. 1, telemarketers will have to match their contact lists against the national do-no-call registry (search) every 31 days instead of every three months, the Federal Communications Commission (search) said.
The registry, which was established in October 2003, has more than 69 million telephone numbers, and is administered by both the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (search).
The ban on unwanted phone solicitations is the government's attempt to safeguard personal privacy and reduce telemarketing abuse.
Under a 2003 law, businesses face fines of up to $11,000 if they call people who sign up for the registry -- unless they have recently done business with them. Charities, pollsters and callers on behalf of politicians, however, are exempt.
People can register their phone numbers or file complaints at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.