Legislature to consider new telemarketing curbs

Posted: Sunday, April 07, 2002

JUNEAU -- A bill to strengthen laws that bar telemarketers from targeting people who want to be left alone is being considered in a House committee next week.

''We have a telemarketers' black-dot list presently, but the problem is that it's not well-publicized, people don't know that it's there and when they do know it's there, there's an expense to the consumer,'' said Rep. Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage, who is sponsoring the change.

The black dot designates customers who don't want to receive marketing calls. The state currently has 5,591 customers registered on ''do-not-call'' lists.

Under House Bill 448, customers would be notified at least once a year in their monthly billing statements of the availability of the black-dot service. The proposal also would provide free enrollment on ''do-not-call'' lists, and companies wanting to do telemarketing business in the state would be required to purchase the lists and register with the state.

Twenty other states enforce ''do-not-call'' statutes, and several others are considering similar legislation.

Crawford said the cost of implementing the service would be minimal because revenue would come from companies purchasing the lists, as well as fines for violators.

The ''do-not-call'' proposal goes before a House Labor and Commerce Committee on Monday.

Crawford called the proposal bipartisan because Democrats and Republicans have signed on, but added that it didn't mean the measure would gain final approval, noting that he is a lawmaker in the minority.

''It doesn't hurt to have Brian Porter on the co-sponsor list,'' Crawford said. ''But that doesn't mean that it's going anywhere yet.''

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