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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2005
CONTACT: Patricia Van Gerpen, (605) 773-3201
PUC is successful with legislation protecting consumers' cell numbers
South Dakota's three Public Utilities Commissioners were successful in getting legislation passed to prohibit a telecommunications provider from including consumers' cellular phone numbers in a directory without authorization.
Senate Bill 20 was introduced during the 2005 legislative session at the request of the PUC. It unanimously passed both chambers and has been signed into law by Governor Rounds.
"This is consumer protection legislation," said PUC Chair Gary Hanson. "It prohibits a company from placing a person's cell phone number in a phone directory without the person's permission, and requires a separate notice to the consumer that he or she has a right not to be listed in a wireless directory."
"We've heard a great deal of concern about this issue from consumers," said PUC Vice Chair Bob Sahr. "Although we have the word of the current wireless providers in South Dakota that they will not attempt to publish such a directory without specific approval from consumers, we wanted to take this added precaution, making it a state law to require consumer approval."
"Cellular phones are much different than land lines and so are the directories that may be associated with each," said PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson. "When an unwanted call comes in on my cell phone and I answer it, it costs me minutes and money. That's the point we've heard from consumers. They do not want to take such calls on their cellular phones in most cases."
The legislation allows those who do wish to have their cellular phone numbers published – for business purposes, for example - to opt for inclusion in such directories.
South Dakotans are encouraged to call the PUC Consumer Office at 1-800-332-1782 if they have questions about the DNC list. If you wish to add your land or cell phone numbers to the list, visit www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.