OP ED
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
April 26, 2002
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Tired of Telemarketers? Sign Up For No-Call

By Senator Troy Fraser

The scene is all too familiar: You're in the middle of something -- maybe making dinner, entertaining guests, washing the car, or simply watching your favorite weekly TV show. The phone rings. You answer it, only to be verbally bombarded by a near-breathless caller with news that you've just won a "free" trip to Cancun.

Turns out that you, "or someone you know," entered your name in a special drawing, and you're on the verge of hitting the "free trip jackpot," says the caller.

Sound familiar? Sound too good to be true?

But you don't want to seem rude by hanging up, so you may even listen to their two-minute pitch before eventually uttering the inevitable: "I'm not interested." But they keep talking. And talking. And talking.

Welcome to telemarketing.

Caller ID has been helpful in the past by allowing residents to screen incoming calls from telemarketers; however, an alternative now exists to help insulate yourself from the sometimes overly aggressive sales pitches over the telephone in the form of "No Call Lists" administered by the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

The first list, a general "Do Not Call List," applies to every telemarketing business operating within the state of Texas. By paying a registration fee of $2.25 for each residential telephone to be placed on the list, your name will be deleted from telemarketers' calling lists for three years.

The second list, an "Electric No Call List," applies only to telemarketers calling about Retail Electric Providers and your electric service. This five-year service has a registration fee of $2.55 for each telephone number placed on the list.

There are, however, some exceptions to these "No Call Lists." The PUC allows telemarketing to contact consumers:

Telemarketers will have 60 days from the date a number appears on a published "No Call List" to update their internal databases and remove numbers. The lists will be published quarterly so that telemarketers can regularly update their files. The next published list will be available to telemarketers on July 1, 2002.

If you pay the fees, register your name on the "No Call List" and still receive unwanted telemarketing calls after the 60 days, you may file a complaint with the Customer Protection Division of the PUC (1-888-782-8477; TTY 1-800-735-2988, or by e-mail at customer@puc.state.tx.us ) or the Office of the Attorney General Customer Protection Hotline (1-800-621-0508).

Signing up for this new service is simple. Consumers can subscribe to the "No Call Lists" in three ways: online at www.texasnocall.com; call toll-free at 1-866-TXNOCAL; or write a letter requesting an application to TEXAS NO CALL, P.O. Box 313, E. Walpole, Mass., 02032.

State Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, represents a 21-county district that includes the Highland Lakes region.

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