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John Hollenhorst Reporting...Are you driven crazy by unwanted calls from phone solicitors? Well, hope is in sight. A new set of rules will come into play later this year. And it could make phone solicitors pay through the nose if they invade your space.
Imagine this scenario. Your kitchen phone rings. The voice on the other end says, "How would you like to buy a week in a time-share condo in Kansas?" And you reply, "You're busted! This call could cost you 11,000 dollars in fines."
That amazing power could be coming soon, to your kitchen.
Carla Rey gets those annoying marketing calls on the job at KSL and almost every night at home. It makes her furious.
CARLA REY/RECEPTIONIST: "I THINK THAT HOME IS A PRIVATE PLACE AND THEY'RE INVADING MY PRIVACY, I DON'T THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE THAT RIGHT. I REALLY DON'T."
At the State Office of Consumer Protection, they're getting ready for a new era in which homeowners can actually do something major to protect themselves from telemarketers.
Francine Giani/State Director of Consumer Protection: “I CAN ONLY TELL YOU THAT THIS IS PROBABLY THE NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT THAT WE GET TO OUR OFFICE. PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF THE TELEMARKETING PHONE CALLS.... I THINK THEY'RE ABUSIVE AS WELL. I DON'T LIKE TO GET TELEMARKETING PHONE CALLS."
The state legislature recently approved a new defensive measure against telemarketers: a Utah DO NOT CALL list.
And the federal government is putting together another: a national DO NOT CALL list.
Many details remain to be worked out. And it's too soon to sign up.
But in each case, consumers would make one phone call to get on the list. After that, telemarketers who call a name on the list are breaking the law.
State penalties haven't been decided yet. But the federal fine could be up to 11,000 dollars per call.
It will not be complete relief. The legislature exempted charities and certain industries from the new rules.
In Utah, solicitors would be free to keep calling on behalf of real estate, insurance and securities companies.
At the federal level, airlines, insurance and long-distance companies are exempt.
Francine Giani/State Dir. Of Consumer Protection: "IF I HAD MY DRUTHERS, I WOULD NOT HAVE PUT ANY EXEMPTIONS INTO THE PACKAGE."
But most of the telemarketing industry will likely have to adjust to a strange new concept: willing customers.
Francine Giani/State Dir. Of Consumer Protection: "TELEMARKETERS WILL NOW KNOW WHO THEIR MARKET IS. YOU KNOW, WHO WANTS TO BE TELEPHONE-CALLED."
Unexpected wrinkles in the state law may have to be resolved in a special legislative session. And final rules are still being written. So you can't actually sign up yet. That should start in a few weeks.