Relief From Telephone Solicitors On Horizon

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Senate-Assembly conferees have agreed on a bill that will make Nevada the 34th state with a "do-not-call" list to stop telephone solicitors from interrupting residents at home.

Members agreed Thursday to amend AB232 to allow residents to sign up for a "do-not-call" list. Companies can't phone people on that list.

The attorney general's office will manage the program and announce in the coming months how residents can sign up for the list. The agency likely will have an 800 number and a Web site for people to join.

When residents sign up for the state "do-not-call" list, they will automatically be placed in the federal "do-not-call" registry. Nevada will use the federal database for its registry.

The program starts Jan. 1.

Companies with existing business relationships with customers still can phone those customers with sales proposals. But companies who call residents must not hide the telephone numbers from which they make calls. The number must show on residents' caller ID systems.

"It is a terrific bill for consumers," said Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas. Conklin said the bill is stronger than most other state
anti-telemarketing laws because it does not let affiliated companies of a company with whom a customer has an existing relationship call that customer.

As an example, he said a customer might have a mortgage financed through a bank. That bank can call the customer, but if the bank has an affiliated credit card company, that company may not call the customer.

He added the requirement that phone numbers must show up on caller ID also is important because it gives residents a choice of whether to accept a call.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)