PSC to be in the area Thursday for Do Not Call signup

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 14, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Tired of running to answer the phone only to find a telemarketer on the other end when one has made it perfectly clear that one is not interested in anything that they are selling

. Well, fret no more, relief is now available.

Natchez and Meadville residents will be able to sign up for Mississippi’s new No Call list for telemarketers Public Service Commissioner Michael Callahan

Email newsletter signup

and members of his staff will bring the southern district sign up process to Southwest Mississippi at the Natchez Mall or the Franklin County Courthouse from 9

to 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Since July 1, thousands of consumers have registered for the Mississippi Public Service Commissions.

After the Commission forms the &uot;No Call&uot; database, consumers will give their telephone number, name and address to the xommission.

The law now requires all telemarketers, who are going to do business in Mississippi, to register with the Public Service Commission, post a bond and purchase the &uot;no call&uot; list from the Commission. The list will cost telemarketers $800.00 if downloaded from the internet, or $1,000 if the telemarketer wants a hard copy.

&uot;I don’t want consumers to think we are going to give these telemarketers their name and address,&uot; said Callahan. &uot;All they will get is a list of ten digit telephone numbers. It will then be up to the telemarketer to make sure they don’t call these consumers.&uot;

The law also prohibits telemarketers from blocking the caller ID function as well as limiting their calling time to Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

However, the law contains several exemptions: Most religious charitable organizations; Mississippi licensed Realtors, Mississippi licensed car dealers; Mississippi licensed insurance agents; newspapers, funeral homes; stock brokers, banks with locations in Mississippi; and companies one has an established business relationship with or had a relationship during the past six months.

&uot;First the law only stops callers who are making a ‘Telephone Solicitation which is defined as lawŠ ‘any voice communications over the telephone line of a consumer for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of or investment in, property or soliciting a sale of any consumer goods or services, or an extension of credit for consumer goods or services,’&uot; Callahan said. &uot;So, it is very important for consumers to understand what calls are actually prohibited.&uot;

The Commission will actually start enforcing and receiving complaints on October 1st. All &uot;No Call&uot; complaints to the Commission will have to be in writing.