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AND NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS ...

New rules may hang 'em up

March 31, 2003|Gayle Pollard-Terry

It's not all dire doings in the world; here's the first in an

occasional series looking at happier developments.

*

Lakers down by three. Final seconds of the game. Kobe's got the ball ...

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.

After screaming, crying, wailing and sobbing for hours, the baby finally nods off ...

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.

"Dinner's ready!" Finally, some time for family togetherness ...

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.

As if they can see through the telephone, irritating salespeople interrupt, intrude and pester, ignoring repeated pleas to "take my name off your list."

Some peace is on the way, thanks to new rules approved by the Federal Trade Commission. Starting in July, consumers can go online or make a toll-free call to put their name on a national "Do Not Call" list. To learn more go to www.ftc.gov/donotcall.

Starting in September, telemarketers must eliminate from their call list any phone numbers registered. If they call anyway, beginning in October, they can be fined up to $11,000 per call. Some calls will still get through because the registry will not apply to long-distance phone companies, airlines, charities that don't use telemarketers to solicit and state-regulated insurance companies. Anyone "with which you have an established business relationship" can call "for up to 18 months after your last purchase, payment or delivery," according to the Web site. And if you submit an application or make an inquiry, that firm can call for three months.

(The FTC registry will supplant California's new state registry, which was put on hold in anticipation of federal action.)

The good news is that many calls will never intrude just as you begin to (fill in the blank).

-- Gayle Pollard-Terry

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