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Paynesville Press - November 6, 2002

Do not call list reduces Minnesota telemarketing

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Jim Bernstein announced Friday, Nov. 1, that Minnesota residents will be able to register their residential phone numbers on the state's new Do Not Call list beginning Monday, Nov. 4.

An automated, interactive phone system will allow Minnesotans to register up to three residential phone numbers during a single call. The system will recognize the phone number and will ask the caller to confirm the information. The statewide, toll-free Do Not Call registration phone number is 1-800-921-4110.

Internet registration will also be available through the Department of Commerce website:

"Minnesota's consumers have made it quite clear that they want some relief from unwanted telemarketing," said Commissioner Bernstein. "There are roughly 2.2 million residential phone lines in Minnesota. I would not be surprised if half of those numbers are eventually registered on the Do Not Call list."

Minnesota's Do Not Call list, established by the 2002 Legislature and signed into law by Governor Ventura, is expected to reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls to consumers. Minnesota residents may register their phone numbers - at no charge - on the Do Not Call list and telemarketers are required to remove those numbers from their databases.

As of Jan. 1, 2003, telemarketers will be required to purchase a new Do Not Call list every three months. Violators could face civil rights penalties of up to $1,000 per violation and repeat offenders could be barred from all telemarketing in the state. The Department of Com-merce will maintain the list and enforce the law.

Certain organizations are exempt from the law and do not have to purchase the Do Not Call list before phoning Minnesota residents :

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Political organizations
  • Businesses with a prior relationship with the customer
  • Solicitors that do not intend to complete the sale over the phone, but rather complete the transaction in a face-to-face setting.

Other provisions of the Do Not Call List law:

  • All telemarketers will be prohibited from using devices that disable Caller ID on consumers' telephones.
  • Telemarketers will be required to immediately identify themselves, the company they represent, and the product they are selling.
If the Federal Trade Commission develops a nationwide "do not call list," Minnesota's list will be automatically included on the national register. (Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce)

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