Since the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched its free, national do-not-call registry on June 27, consumers who want to stop harassing telemarketing calls have registered more than 10 million telephone numbers - 85 per cent of which were registered online.
Telemarketers who call numbers on the list after October 1 face penalties of up to $US11,000 per call, as well as possible consumer lawsuits. Consumers can sign up for the list by logging onto the site, www.donotcall.gov.
On June 27 alone, seven million telephone numbers were logged into the FTC's online system, according to the agency. That caused the FTC's do-not-call registration Web site to slow to a crawl, according to Keynote Systems, which offers e-commerce performance monitoring capabilities. Another 4.6 million telephone numbers were registered on June 28, and two million were registered on Sunday.
"The highest sustained system access we've seen occurred Friday evening between 6pm and 7pm [EDT], when 158 telephone numbers were entered in the system per second," the FTC said .
Ironically, the FTC's do-not-call project manager, David Torok, said there was a problem with consumers receiving their confirmation emails because some of them were being filtered out by users' spam-blocking software. And, he said, if a consumer didn't respond to the confirmation email within 72 hours, the telephone number wasn't added to the list.
Torok said the FTC contacted Internet service providers to ask them to adapt their systems to handle those emails. Torok said consumers who hadn't received their confirmation email within 72 hours should register by telephone.