FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2007
Schumer's Bill To Prevent Millions Of NY'ers From Being Kicked Off 'Do Not Call List' Passes Senate - Ensures New Yorkers' Phone Numbers Permanenty On List And Protected Against Annoying Telemarketers
National Do Not Call List Allows Upstate New Yorkers to Restrict Telemarketers from Calling Homes and Businesses to Solicit
Call List Registration Expires After Five Years—First Wave of Expirations to Occur in 2008—Thousands of Upstate New Yorkers in the Dark
Late Last Night Full Senate Passes Schumer's Legislation to Prevent Phone Numbers from Expiring Once they've Been Placed on List
With millions of New Yorkers at risk of receiving annoying and burdensome telemarketing phone calls, despite having added their phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry, today Schumer announced that the full Senate passed the bill that he co-sponsored which prevents phone numbers from expiring once they’ve been placed on the registry. The Do Not Call Registry, created in 2003, is a database of phone numbers managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). When a person adds his or her phone number to the list via the toll-free hotline or FTC website, telemarketers are prohibited from calling that number.
However, names on the list expire after 5 years, with the first wave set to expire in early 2008. Furthermore, the FTC does not send any form of notification to individuals on the Do Not Call Registry alerting them to their upcoming expiration or explaining that an individual is responsible for his own re-registration.
Schumer’s bill, sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), passed the Senate late last night by unanimous consent, will amend the original law and prevent phone numbers from expiring once they are placed on the Do Not Call Registry.
“With millions of New Yorkers set to be dropped from the Do Not Call list, opening them up to a fresh wave of irritating and unprovoked calls from telemarketers, this bill fixes a major flaw in the program by ensuring that New Yorkers will permanently protected from these calls,” said Senator Schumer “This bill will make the Do Not Call Registry permanent, so New Yorkers won’t be forced to repeatedly register just to eat dinner in peace and keep intrusive telemarketers off their personal phone lines.”
The Do Not Call list, created in 2003, is a database of phone numbers managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). When a person adds his or her phone number to the list via the toll-free hotline or FTC website, telemarketers have 31 days to remove that phone number from their call lists. In accordance with the 2003 law that created the Do Not Call Registry, consumers may file a complaint with the FTC if they receive any calls after the 31-day period, and telemarketers face fines of up to $11,000.
However, most Do Not Call registrants are completely unaware that their registration expires five years to the day their phone number was registered. Because the list was created in 2003, beginning early 2008 many phone numbers currently on the list will expire, thus leaving thousands of people vulnerable to telemarketers.
Nationwide, over 55 million telephone numbers have been registered with the Do Not Call Registry. Over 57% of U.S. adults say that they have submitted their numbers to the registry. Of those people who have signed up, 92% say that they have received dramatically fewer telemarketing calls, and 25% of those registered say that they have not received any telemarketing calls since registering. When compared to other large and populated states, New York saw among the fewest complaints during the initial three-month period during which the registry was deployed. While over 22,000 complaints were filed by consumers in California, nearly 18,000 in Florida, and over 10,000 in Texas, only 4,300 complaints were filed by New York consumers in the same period.
• Area code 315 serves most of Central New York, the Finger Lakes and parts of the North Country, including Cayuga, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties. It also serves parts of Chenango, Cortland and Otsego counties. 676,186 phone numbers in the 315 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
• Area code 518 serves the Capital Region and most of the North Country, including Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties. 702,721 phone numbers in the 518 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
• Area code 585 serves the Rochester Area, including Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans and Wyoming counties. 542,029 phone numbers in the 585 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
• Area code 607 serves the Southern Tier and parts of the Finger Lakes including Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins counties. 379,421 phone numbers in the 607 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
• Area code 716 serves the Buffalo Area, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. 676,748 phone numbers in the 716 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
• Area code 845 serves the Hudson Valley including Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties. It also serves parts of Columbia, Greene and Delaware counties. 614,598 phone numbers in the 845 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
• Area code 914 also serves the Hudson Valley, but only serves Westchester County. 598,998 phone numbers in the 914 area code are registered with the Do Not Call Registry.
Today Schumer announced the Senate passed this legislation that will eliminate the automatic removal of telephone numbers registered on the federal Do Not Call Registry. This legislation will prohibit any date of expiration for telephone numbers on the list and prevent the FTC from setting any determined time limitation for telephone numbers to remain on the registry. Although the FTC has raised concerns that the 5 year registration term protects the integrity of the list, the FTC will still conduct their monthly purge of disconnected numbers remaining on the list to keep it accurate.
Schumer’s co-sponsored legislation will remove the burden that the FTC has placed on the individual to re-register by ensuring that numbers placed on the Do Not Call Registry are not subject to automatic expiration.