By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer
An additional 1.2 million consumers signed up to avoid annoying telemarketing calls through midafternoon Monday, the first day residents east of the Mississippi River could sign up by phone.
Since the Federal Trade Commission began accepting online signups nationally and phone calls west of the Mississippi June 27, more than 20 million consumers have included their phone numbers. The free, national "do not call'' list bans most out-of-state telemarketing calls starting Oct. 1.
Exempt from the do-not-call list are solicitations from charities, political candidates or businesses where the consumer already has a relationship.
The Ohio House plans hearings this summer on a bill that has already cleared the Ohio Senate to include calls originating from within the state. Kentucky and Indiana already have their own do-not-call lists.
An FTC spokeswoman said about half of the 1.2 million people signing up by 2 p.m. Monday did so through a toll-free phone number. The others were through the FTC Web site (www.donotcall.gov) .
The toll-free number - 888-382-1222 - was rolled out in stages to ensure that the system could handle the volume of calls. Callers to the number must use the phone they want registered.
The telemarketing industry, which is challenging the FTC list in court, estimates that the list could cut its business in half, costing it up to $50 billion in sales each year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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