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H&R Block Financial Advisors Gets Hit by No Call law

September 26, 2001
By: Anna Nichols
State Capital Bureau
Links: www.moago.org

JEFFERSON CITY - The national financial services company H&R Block Financial Advisors has become the latest to get caught up in the state's enforcement of the new law restricting telemarketers.

The firm was included in a list of the 17 latest companies to be issued fines for calling Missourians who had placed their names on the state's no call list. H&R Block Financial Advisors was required to pay $15,000 in fines, the largest amount levied in this grouping.

A company official at H&R Block did not realize that Missouri is a no call state until Attorney General Jay Nixon's office notified them.

"We couriered a check to subscribe to the no call list and voluntarily entered into an agreement of compliance," said Cyd Slayton, director of communications for H&R Block Financial Advisors.

Missouri's no call law makes it illegal for companies to advertise by phone to the 814,000 residential phone numbers on the no call list. The list is maintained by the attorney general's office and is updated every three months. All Missouri citizens can have their home phone numbers added to the list by contacting Nixon's office.

"The process to sign up is quick, easy, and free," Nixon said.

The companies contacted by the attorney general's office must pay the fines and a fee to obtain a copy of the no call list in order to comply with Missouri law. If the companies continue to violate the no call law, they face fines of $5,000 for each incident.

The largest fine yet collected for violation of the no call law was $75,000 levied against Access Resource Services, the parent company of television psychic "Miss Cleo" in August, said Scott Holste, spokesman for the attorney general.

Nixon's office has collected $267,500 from telemarketers in violation of the no call law in the three months it has been in effect. The money collected goes into the Merchandising Practices Fund, which helps enforce consumer protection laws in Missouri.

"With more than 2 million Missourians as full partners with us on the no call team, we've succeeded both in reducing telemarketing calls to those on the list and in pursuing those who violate the law," Nixon said in a statement Wednesday.