The National Do Not Call Registry has been “enormously successful,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. In a statement submitted today to the Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science, and Technology of the Canadian Parliament, Associate Director for Planning and Information Lois C. Greisman provided an overview of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and Do Not Call Registry provision; an overview of the operation and design of the Registry; an examination of the fees and costs associated with the Registry; and a review of compliance and law enforcement actions.
Greisman explained that the original Telemarketing Sales Rule, adopted in 1995, contained a “company-specific do not call” provision barring telemarketers from calling consumers who had previously requested not to be called. In January 2002, the Commission sought public comment on the potential creation of a National Registry, and received more than 64,000 comments, the majority of which supported the idea. The Registry was formally established in December 2002, and launched in June 2003, with joint enforcement from the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The statement notes that the Registry offers consumers a “meaningful choice,” both about the calls they do not wish to receive and the calls they want to keep receiving. The statement also states that, by providing telemarketers with the ability to “scrub” their lists of those consumers who do not want to be called, the Registry increases the efficiency and effectiveness of telemarketers’ marketing initiatives.
The statement notes that although compliance with the Registry has been high, the FTC actively investigates and prosecutes violators. As of April 2005, the FTC has brought seven Do Not Call cases and obtained four settlements. In addition, the FTC has brought four cases alleging various Do Not Call scams, in which defendants have offered to place consumers on the National Registry or provide other protections against unwanted calls in exchange for fees. The statement also notes that the FCC has issued 16 citations and entered into two consent decrees in connection with violations of the Registry. To date, the Registry contains more than 92 million telephone numbers.
The Commission vote approving the statement was 5-0.
Copies of the statement are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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(FTC File No. P034305)