The Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to work together to create a national Do-Not-Call Registry. This registry applies to all telemarketers nationwide (although certain non-profit organizations are exempt from the restrictions).
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Any consumer can register his or her phone number(s) completely free of charge. Any registered phone number will remain on the list until the consumer removes them or the phone’s service is discontinued. Phone numbers can be registered online (www.donotcall.gov) or by telephone (1-888-382-1222) at no cost. If registering by telephone, consumers must call from the phone number they wish to register.
Do Not Call Rules for Telemarketers
After a phone is registered, telemarketers must cease calling it within 31 days. Telemarketers and other sellers are required to update their call lists according to the Do-Not-Call Registry every 31 days. Other rules that telemarketers must follow include:
- Telemarketers cannot block their phone numbers and must transmit Caller ID information to all consumers with Caller ID technology.
- Predictive dialers must abandon no more than 3% of all calls that are placed/answered by a living person. A call is considered abandoned if it is not transferred to a live sales agent within two seconds after the consumer answers the phone.
- Telemarketers must call between the hours of 8am and 9pm; calling at any other time is strictly prohibited.
- Telemarketers and other solicitors must provide their name, the name of the entity for whom the call is being made, and an address/contact number.
- For consumers who wish to avoid calls from specific companies, company-specific no-call registries are available.
Do Not Call Complaints
If telemarketers do not adhere to all Do-Not-Call Registry restrictions, a complaint can be filed by the consumer. Complaints can be filed by telephone (1-888-225-5322), by fax (1-866-418-0232), online (http://www.fcc.gov/complaints), or by mail to the following address:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street Southwest
Washington, DC 20554
All complaints should include the following information:
Name and address
- The registered phone number that the telemarketer contacted
- The name of the individual or company for/about whom the telemarketer was calling
- A description of the call
- Any phone number provided by the telemarketer to allow you to “opt-out” of future calls
- Information on whether the caller had obtained prior permission to call from someone in the household
- Any prior existing relationship with the telemarketer or the company for whom he/she worked (i.e. whether anyone in the household has purchased anything, made an inquiry, or filed an application with the company prior to receiving the call)
These restrictions and the complaint filing system are meant to give consumers the opportunity to limit the number and type of telemarketing calls they receive.