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NYS Merges "Do Not Call" Registry with Federal List

By Eileen Buckley

Albany, NY – New York State's "Do Not Call" registry has been merged with a National list. The Governor signed legislation Monday that will allow the transfer of phone numbers for households wishing to block telemarketing calls.

Out of 25-states, New York has the largest "Do Not Call" registry in America, with 2.4 million people enrolled. Those phone numbers will automatically be rolled into the Federal Trade Commission's new "Do Not Call" registry.

Governor Pataki says the state's list has prevented about a half billion unwanted telemarketing phone calls.

"When you come home from work and want to have a quiet dinner with your family, you can be inundated by calls from people trying to sell you something you don't want," Pataki said. "In New York State, you no longer have to tolerate it."

In enforcing the "Do Not Call" law, 50 companies have settled with the state, agreeing to pay $700,000 for violating it. Teresa Santiago, chair and executive director of the state's Consumer Protection Board, says the registry blocks most telemarketing calls, but not all.

"Calls are drastically reduced, but we don't say you'll never get a call from a telemarketer," Santiago said. "The majority of the people who are registered do say they have seen a substantial reduction of calls coming into their homes."

The state will phase out its registration phone lines by the middle of this month and the FTC will maintain New York's "Do Not Call" registry. This change is expected to save the state about $1.5 million this fiscal year.

But the American Teleservices Association says creation of the national registry will force the telemarketing industry to cut two million jobs.