WASHINGTON -- Consumers have until Sunday to add their phone numbers to the 41.7 million already on a list to block telemarketing calls starting Oct. 1.
K. Dane Snowden, chief of the Federal Communications Commission's consumer and government affairs bureau, said those who sign up for the do-not-call list after this weekend likely will have to wait until early next year before calls are blocked.
Consumers can register for the do-not-call list by calling 1-888-382-1222 or visiting www.donotcall.gov.
The FTC said that the list will block about 80 percent of telemarketing calls.
Charities, pollsters and political campaigns are exempt. In addition, a company may call a person if he or she has bought, leased or rented from the firm in the previous 18 months or has inquired about or applied for something during the past three months.
Meanwhile, businesses and nonprofit groups continue to challenge another FCC rule, which requires them to obtain written permission before sending unsolicited faxes. The FCC on Aug. 19 agreed to postpone the rule until Jan. 1, 2005.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business associations asked the commission on Wednesday to reconsider the rule.
Snowden also urged consumers to contact their cellular telephone companies and state officials to urge them to provide what is known as enhanced 911 service, which allows an operator to pinpoint the location or the number of a wireless call.
Though wireless customers pay a surcharge for E911 service, some cell phones and transmission towers cannot transmit the location of the caller, and cash-strapped local and state governments have not spent the money they've collected to install the new technology, instead using it to close budget gaps.