If you were among the first 2 million Pennsylvanians to register your phone line on the state's "Do Not Call" list following the General Assembly's unanimous passage of the "Telemarketer Registration Act" of 2002, you must reregister by this Sunday, September 15, if you want to keep from being barraged by unwanted and intrusive telemarketing calls.The fact is, registration on the "Do Not Call" list is only valid for five years.
That's why-if you still want to keep your number or numbers on the list-you've got to take action to reregister right away.
The state Attorney General's Office, which oversees the state's Telemarketing Registration law, has advised that those who first registered to have their phone number(s) put on the "Do Not Call" list five years ago and who have not re-registered by September 15, will be dropped from the "Do Not Call" list effective November 1.
Re-registration (or, for that matter, first time registration) is quick, simple and free.
For citizens with Internet access, I've included a special link on my web-site (www.senator-opake.com) to allow constituents to re-register online.
In addition, consumers may also call the state Attorney General's "Do Not
Call" list registration number toll-free at 1-888-777-3406.
If you can't remember when you registered, you can re-register at any time to remain on the "Do Not Call" list for an additional five years.
If you have Internet access, you can verify online whether and when you originally registered.
Also, while federal law prohibits telemarketers from calling cell phones, you can still register cell phones on the "Do Not Call" list as a safeguard.
For double protection, you may also wish to add your phone number(s) to the federal government's "Do Not Call" list by visiting www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll free at 1-888-382-1222.
Registering your number on the "Do Not Call" list stops most telemarketing calls, but there are exceptions for: Calls that you request, calls made by businesses to existing customers who have done business with the company in the past 12 months, debt collection calls, calls from tax-exemption charitable or fraternal organizations, calls from veterans organizations and calls made on behalf of political groups or candidates.
Regarding the latter, however, I am the prime sponsor of legislation (SB 70) that would provide further restrictions to our law to prohibit so-called "political robocalls" to households who don't want to receive them.
With another political season just around the corner, it is my hope that we can enact this new safeguard to empower citizens with the protection they rightly deserve to prevent the kind of automated political trickery that preys on the unsuspecting good graces of our citizens and invades the shelter and privacy of their homes.
Michael A. O'Pake represents Pennsylania's Senate District 11.