Florida's Do Not Call list now free

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Rose Blackburn is virtual bowling with her friends at the senior center. It's an hour of uninterrupted competition and socializing.

Rose remembers a time when her rest and relaxation was often interrupted by telemarketers.

"I still get evening calls," she said.

Rose placed her home phone number on the Do Not Call list, but times change and so did her phone number.  She now has a cell phone.  And solicitors have her new number. "Now I'm getting them on the cell phone to, so when I get a number I don't recognize, I just don't even listen to it."

Rose's bowling partner Evelyn Dowery gets the calls too. "We don't answer most of them."

In the past it cost 10 dollars to register a phone number on Florida's Do Not Call list.  There was also a yearly renewal fee.  A new law eliminates the fee and shifts the burden for funding to telemarketers.

Florida's list was started in 1987.  A national list was launched in 2003.  The state keeps its own list because it allows for quicker investigations and prosecutions.   
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam oversees the list. "It's a great program."

In the past the department had to take telemarketers to court if they violated do not call. Now the department has the authority to directly fine the companies.

Eliminating the fees will cost the state half a million dollars.  Last year companies violating the law paid the state 50-thousand dollars total.  The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services hopes the new law will allow them to collect enough money to make up the difference.  

To put your phone number on the list visit www.fldnc.com.

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