The Do Not Call List
The United States Do-Not-Call Registry aims to protect consumers from these unwanted phone solicitations. While it has been around for over a decade, many still don’t entirely understand how it works or what it can do.
That includes consumers, of course, as well as businesses, many of which want to comply and seek to understand the scope and nuances of the regulations.
What is the Do Not Call List?
Consistent consumer complaints spurred Congress to sign the Telephone Consumer Protection ACT (TCPA) in 1991. The TCPA outlined new restrictions on sales calls and the use of automated dialers and voicemail recordings. It also suggested the creation of a database of consumer phone numbers that shouldn’t receive unsolicited sales calls.
While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) adopted the TCPA guidelines, they chose not to move forward with the establishment of the phone number database.
That changed on June 27, 2003, when the FTC finally set up the Do-Not-Call Registry. Consumers could now register their phone number, and after 31 days unsolicited calls to that number were prohibited and punishable with a fine.
Within just 4 days, over 10 million phone numbers had been registered. By the registry’s seventh birthday (2010) that number had topped 200 million.
What is prohibited?
It’s important to understand what types of calls the registry prohibits. Generally, these are certain unethical business activities and telemarketing for a direct sale.
1) Let’s first cover the “unsolicited” aspect.
If you and the company have an “existing relationship”, a call is not considered unsolicited. This relationship exists if you have purchased, rented, or leased the businesses goods or services, or if any other financial transaction has taken place in the last 18 months. Or, if you have requested information, a price quote, or submitted an application in the last 3 months.
However, once you request that a company stop calling you, they are required to stop.
2) The next distinction is that the call must be a “sales” call. The following types of calls are not considered sales calls, and are therefore still allowed even if your number is on the registry:
- Debt collection
- Solicitations for charity
- Political calls
- Information calls
3) Finally, prohibited calls only apply to personal / residential phone numbers.
Even though you can register a business phone number on the Do-Not-Call Registry, this doesn’t prohibit unsolicited sales calls. If you have a business, you should keep this in mind before you use the same phone number for personal and business use.
How to Sign Up – Online or By Phone
Signing up for the National Do-Not-Call Registry is quick and easy.
To sign up online, go to https://www.donotcall.gov/ and proceed through the registration process. The FTC will ask for your email address, however it is only used for confirmation and is not stored or associated with your phone number.
To sign up by phone, call 1-888-382-1222. With this method, there’s no confirmation email, but you need to call from the phone number you wish to register.
Your phone number should be registered the following day, and within 31 days most sales calls should cease.
How to File a Complaint
The process for filing a complaint about a sales call is similar to registering your number.
You can go to https://www.donotcall.gov/ and click the “Report it to the FTC” link. After that, you just provide some basic information on the illegal call.
Alternatively, you can call 1-888-382-1222.
WE ARE REALTY provides certain telephone and media messaging features. Understanding the rules, limitations and legal usage of these features is critical and required in order to use our software.
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