11/14/05 — State list is keeping telemarketers at bay

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State list is keeping telemarketers at bay

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 14, 2005 1:47 PM

After two successful years, no still means "no" to the nearly 3 million North Carolinians signed on to the state's Do Not Call Registry.

"The main thing is to make sure telemarketers don't violate the Do Not Call Registry," North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper said. "The calls (from telemarketers) have significantly lowered and that has had a positive affect for the people on it."

Since the registry began in July 2003, people throughout the state have placed their home and cellular phones on the list. Consumers who have placed their number on the list know to be skeptical when any telemarketer calls them, Cooper said, especially when that person calls with an offer that is too good to be true.

However, there are still companies throughout the nation that violate the privacy of the those on the Do Not Call Registry. In the past two years, 4,000 members of the registry in North Carolina filed written complaints after continuously receiving calls from telemarketers, Cooper said. Another 6,500 have called the attorney general to complain about unwanted telemarketing calls or to get information about the registry.

Once state and federal laws concerning the Do Not Call Registry took effect in October 2003, the state formed the Do Not Call Enforcement Team to prosecute telemarketers that do not follow the law. North Carolina has resolved 32 cases winning nearly $250,000 from violators, according to the Attorney General's office.

When the court rules in favor of the state and companies pay the fine, Cooper said it is written in the state constitution that a large portion be dispersed among local schools. The rest is used to repay the state for the prosecuting attorney's fees.

If a person has placed his or her number on the Do Not Call Registry and a telemarketer calls, Cooper said the person should ask for the company name and phone number. Also, the person should make a note of the date and time of the call. When the person files a complaint, Cooper said the attorney general's office will ask for this information along with the individual's name, address and the number that the telemarketer called.

North Carolinians already on the Do Not Call Registry can report a telemarketer by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free or by visiting www.nocallsnc.com.

For those that have not joined the list, visit the same Web site or call 1-888-382-1222 within the state from the number he or she wishes to register. Cooper said he encourages people to also include their cellular phone to the list because more telemarketers are reaching people by that method.