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Cell phones wait to go Do Not Call

One item hidden in the budget repair bill that was signed on May 16 by Gov. Jim Doyle is a provision to add cell phones to the state's Do Not Call list.

The need to add cell phones to the list is because many individuals are giving up their land lines and using cell phones instead, according to the Jim Rabbitt, director of the Wisconsin Bureau of Trade and Consumer Protection.

"While there isn't a phone book for cell phone numbers, people give out the number everywhere, in stores, on applications," said Rabbitt.

Consequently, there are a growing number of people getting telemarketing calls on their cell phones he added.

And as more people give up their land lines for cell phones the problem will grow, Rabbitt added.

According to Rabbitt, it normally takes two weeks from when the governor signs a bill to when it becomes active and he says his department is gearing up.

"We are working madly to make sure we are ready," Rabbitt said.

He noted that when the state's Do Not Call List was first put into action they had 144 phone lines available to take calls from people signing up, along with the Do Not Call Web site.

"Those lines were busy 24-hours-a-day for the first week," Rabbitt said.

He added that he is expecting another onslaught because he estimates there are a million cell phones in the state.

"Consumers are going to have to be patient," Rabbitt said.

Getting ready to add cell phones is requiring a number of changes.

One of the changes will aid many cell phone users in the border regions.

Currently the Do Not Call sign up system is set up with filters that only recognize Wisconsin area codes.

Rabbitt says those filters have to be removed on both the telephone sign up system and on the Web site form.

After traffic slowed down on the original Do Not Call list Rabbitt said 100 of the 144 telephone lines were removed. He is now having them put back to handle the expected heavy traffic.

Once the system is ready to go, cell phone users will be able to call 866.966.2255, which is toll-free in Wisconsin only.

Sign up is also available through the Wisconsin Do Not Call Web site (

Contact Brady Bautch at