Do Not Call Register Instructions

National Do Not Call List Instructions

The Federal Trade Commission announced major changes on December 18, 2002 to their rules regarding telemarketing. This is a huge victory for the average person who doesn’t like being called right in the middle of dinner.

There are two ways to register your number:

  • You can call toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number you wish to register.
  • If you prefer to use the web you can go to the FTC Do Not Call web site to register. NOTE: you must have a valid e-mail address to register online.

The FTC started enforcing the National Do Not Call Registry on Oct. 1, 2003. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. The telemarketers update their lists every 31 days so, the phone calls may not stop immediately.

Remember you should also opt out out of the DMA and Credit Bureau direct mail and telemarketing lists as well. It will only take you about 15 minutes of your time and it does work. Plus, it’s free (okay, it does cost you a stamp or two).

History of the Do Not Call List

  • President Bush has signed the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act into law. The law was sponsored by Congressman Billy Tauzin, R-La., was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate and passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with a 418-7 vote.
  • The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has sued the FTC over their proposed Do Not Call List, claiming that it violates free speech.
    DMA Press Release

FTC Official Information on the Subject

The Federal Trade Commission’s amended Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) put consumers in charge of the number of telemarketing calls they get at home and on the go. With the creation of a national “do not call” registry, the FTC made it easier and more efficient for consumers to stop getting the telemarketing sales calls they don’t want.

How does the national “do not call” registry work?

You can register for free online or by calling the toll-free number. If you are registering by phone, you must call from the telephone number that you wish to register. If you register online, you will need to provide a valid e-mail address. The only identifying information that will be kept in the registry will be the phone number you register. You can expect fewer calls within 31 days of the date you sign up for the registry.

The law requires telemarketers to search the registry every 31 days and delete from their call lists phone numbers that are on the registry. If you find that you are receiving telemarketing calls even after you have registered your telephone number, you can file a complaint with the FTC online or by calling a toll-free number. A telemarketer who disregards the national “do not call” registry could be fined up to $11,000 for each call.

How long will my number stay on the registry?

Your number will stay on the registry for until you take your number out of the registry or change phone number.

How many phone numbers can I register?

You may register up to 3 phone numbers, including cell phone numbers. If you are registering by phone, you must call from the phone number that you wish to register.

Who is covered by the national “do not call” registry?

Placing your number on the national “do not call” registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. Some businesses are exempt from the TSR and can still call you even if you place your number on the registry. (These include long-distance phone companies and airlines, and insurance companies that operate under state regulations.) But most telemarketing calls are placed by professional telemarketing companies, and they are not exempt, even if they are calling on behalf of an exempt company. The bottom line: Professional telemarketers cannot call you if you are on the registry.

There are other business that are not required to “go by the list.” For example, organizations with which you have an established business relationship can call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase, payment or delivery – even if your name is on the national “do not call” registry. And companies to which you’ve made an inquiry or submitted an application can call you for three months. However, if you ask a company not to call you, it must honor your request, even if you have an established business relationship.

If you place your number on the national registry, you may give written permission to particular companies that you want to hear from. If you don’t put your number on the national registry, you can still prohibit individual telemarketers from calling, one by one, by asking them to put you on their company’s “do not call” list.

One more important point: Although callers soliciting charitable contributions do not have to search the national registry, a for-profit telemarketer calling on behalf of a charitable organization must honor your request to be put on its “do not call” list.

Are there other protections against unwanted telemarketing calls?

The Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibits deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts and practices and protects you from unwanted late-night telemarketing calls:

  • Calling times are restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Telemarketers must promptly tell you the identity of the seller or charitable organization and – before they make their pitch – that the call is a sales call or a charitable solicitation.
  • Telemarketers must disclose all material information about the goods or services they are offering and the terms of the sale. They are prohibited from lying about any terms of their offer.

In addition to creating the national “do not call” registry, the amendments to the TSR will:

  • Greatly reduce abandoned calls. Telemarketers will be required to connect the call to a sales representative within two seconds of the consumer’s greeting. This will reduce the number of “dead air” or hang-up calls you receive from telemarketers. These calls result from the use of automatic dialing equipment that sometimes reaches more numbers than there are available sales representatives. In addition, when the telemarketer doesn’t have a representative standing by, a recorded message must play to let you know who’s calling and the telephone number they’re calling from. The law prohibits a sales pitch. And to give you time to answer the phone, the telemarketer may not hang up before 15 seconds or four rings.
  • Restrict unauthorized billing. Before billing charges to your credit card account, telemarketers will be required to get your express informed consent to be charged – and to charge to a specific account. If a telemarketer has your account information before the call and offers you goods or services on a free trial basis before charging you automatically – also known as a “free-to-pay conversion” offer – the telemarketer must get your permission to use a particular account number, ask you to confirm the number by repeating the last four digits, and, for your protection, record the entire phone transaction.
  • Require caller ID transmission. Telemarketers will be required to transmit their telephone number and if possible, their name, to your caller ID service. That will protect your privacy, increase accountability on the part of telemarketers, and help in law enforcement efforts. This provision will take effect one year after the release of the Rule.

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 or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. 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.

Author: Richard Patterson

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