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Hundreds of thousands sign on for 'do-not-call' registry


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The federal government launched a national 'do-not-call' registry aimed at stopping most telemarketing phone calls to people who want them blocked. CNN's Julie Vallese reports (June 27)
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Charities, surveys and calls on behalf of politicians are exempt from the registry.
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(CNN) -- The federal government Friday launched a national "do-not-call" registry aimed at stopping most telemarketing phone calls to people who regard the sales pitches as invasive and want them blocked.

By 5 p.m. EDT more than 730,000 phone numbers had been registered, the Federal Trade Commission said. Officials said they expect 60 million people to register eventually.

Consumers can join the registry online at http://www.donotcall.gov or by phone west of the Mississippi River (1-888-382-1222). Some Internet users reported trouble accessing the site on Friday, presumbly because of heavy traffic. Nationwide registration by phone will be available next month.

"When Americans are sitting down to dinner or a parent is reading to his or her child the last thing they need is a call from a stranger with a sales pitch," President Bush said at a White House ceremony inaugurating the project. "So we are taking practical action to address this problem."

Charities, surveys and calls on behalf of politicians are exempt from the registry.

The president said the FTC received more than 60,000 comments, overwhelmingly favoring the registry's creation.

"After a number is registered, commercial telemarketers will be required to remove that number from their call list within three months," he said.

Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which partnered with the FTC on the registry, told CNN that penalties for calling those on the do-not-call list can range up to $11,000 per unwanted call.

"I think the enforcement is going to have some teeth in it, and you're going to have a lot of options," he said.

The FCC added a number of industries to the list that aren't covered by the FTC.

"Between the two of us, our rules cover virtually every industry," Powell said. "And the only limited exceptions are charities, politicians and, if you have a very recent business relationship, they can call for a very short period of time until that time expires."

FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said that 14 million of about 20 million people on various state registries will be automatically transferred.


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