CONSUMER ALERT: DO NOT CALL REGISTRY HELPS CONSUMERS AVOID UNWANTED CALLS

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August 15, 2012

LITTLE ROCK - Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed lawsuits against five companies accused of violating state and federal law with their aggressive telemarketing practices.

All five are alleged to have illegally made automated, prerecorded calls to Arkansas consumers whose telephone numbers are listed on the national Do Not Call Registry. That registry provides consumers with protection from most unwanted telemarketing calls.

As McDaniel seeks court action in those lawsuits, he issued this consumer alert today to remind Arkansas consumers about the Do Not Call Registry and ways to sign up for the list.

"Arkansas consumers who place their telephone number on the Do Not Call list should notice a substantial decline in the number of unwanted calls they receive," McDaniel said. "Signing up for the registry is simple and free. Our office will continue to pursue telemarketers who violate do-not-call rules."

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission established the federal Do Not Call Registry in response to consumer complaints about excessive, unwanted telemarketing calls. Arkansas previously had a registry, which was merged with the federal list. Arkansas consumers registered on the federal list enjoy the protections of both federal and state do-not-call laws.

Under federal and state do-not-call rules, telemarketers and sellers are prohibited from calling numbers on the registry for the purpose of selling goods and services. Exceptions include calls from businesses with which consumers have an existing business relationship. Companies may call for up to 18 months after a consumer's last purchase or payment unless the consumer asks the company not to call again. Other exemptions apply for noncommercial calls, calls that do not include unsolicited advertisements, and calls from most tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations.

Telemarketers and sellers are required to search the Do Not Call Registry at least every 31 days and remove from their own call lists any numbers that are on the registry.

Registration for the list is free. Numbers remain on the list until removed by the consumer or until phone service to that number is discontinued by the consumer.

Both residential and wireless telephone numbers may be placed on the registry. To add a number to the Do Not Call Registry, visit www.donotcall.gov or call (888) 382-1222.

Consumers with complaints about possible violations of do-not-call laws may file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov or by calling (888) 225-5322. Consumers may also file complaints with the Attorney General's Office by visiting McDaniel's Consumer Protection website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org.

For more information about this or other consumer-related issues, call the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at (501) 682-2341 or (800) 482-8982 or visit www.GotYourBackArkansas.org.

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