The Federal Trade Commission today announced that phone numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry now exceed 200 million, and that signing up for the Registry to prevent unwanted telemarketing calls is fast, free, and easy.
The Do Not Call Registry empowers consumers to take charge of the commercial telemarketing calls they get at home. The FTC created the Registry in 2003 to make it easier and more efficient for consumers to protect their privacy and stop unwanted telemarketing calls. Consumers can register online at www.donotcall.gov or call toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number they wish to register. Once consumers have registered their phone number, they never need to re-register. Also, they can use the Do Not Call website (https://www.donotcall.gov/) to verify that their phone number is still on the Registry if they move or if their phone is temporarily disconnected.
Filing a Complaint
Consumers should file a complaint with the FTC if they receive an unwanted telemarketing call after their number has been on the Registry for 31 days. They also should file a complaint if they get a call that uses a recorded message instead of a live person (commonly known as a “robocall”) whether or not their number is on the Registry, if they have not agreed in writing to receive such calls.
Even if a consumer’s phone number is registered, charities, political organizations, and telephone surveyors are still permitted to call. Companies with which consumers have done business within the last 18 months may also continue to call, unless consumers have asked them to stop calling. Debt collectors may also continue to call consumers, whether their number is on the Registry or not. For more information about consumers’ rights when it comes to debt collection calls, go to: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/dealing-with-debt-collection.shtml.
Since 2003, the FTC has brought more than 60 complaints alleging violations of the Registry rules, with the largest settlement resulting in a $5.3 million penalty. A list of all Do Not Call enforcement actions from 2003 through 2010 can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/donotcall/mediacenter.html.
Cell Phones and the DNC Registry
The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. Consumers can place their cell phone number on the Do Not Call Registry to notify marketers that they do not want to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls, but federal regulations already prohibit most telemarketing targeted at cell phones. A consumer alert with more information can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt184.shtm.
Privacy and Security
Federal law requires the FTC to tell consumers how the agency collects, uses, shares, and protects their personal information – including phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. Federal law also limits how the FTC can use consumers’ personal information. Protecting the privacy and security of consumers’ personal information is very important to the agency. Please read the notice at the following link to understand what the FTC does with the personal information it collects both online and offline: http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.shtm.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.