Do Not Call Frequently Asked Questions

DNC Frequently Asked Questions

The Do Not Call Registry is a national database maintained by the government that contains a list of telephone numbers of people who request that they not receive sales calls from telemarketers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched the National Do Not Call Registry in 2003 in response to the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003, which aims to protect telephone consumers' interests.

The Do-Not-Call Implementation act is an extension of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, which put limits on telephone solicitations. The TCPA requires telemarketing companies to have a company-specific do not call list and prohibits them from using artificial voices or automation to make telemarketer calls.

If a person adds their phone numbers to the registry, then telemarketers and telemarketing companies have 31 days to remove them from their lists. The national registry includes cell phones and landlines. It also applies to interstate phone calls.

In other words, the registry is a list of individuals that businesses are not allowed to call. Calling lists such as the Do Not Call list exist to protect consumers from scam phone calls and unsolicited sales calls. Businesses cannot contact a number on the list unless they have written permission from the consumer themselves.

National Calling Time Restrictions
According to federal law, telemarketing companies can call and make a sales pitch between 8 AM and 9 PM. However, individual states have more specific restrictions. For example, the Alabama Do Not Call List does not allow unsolicited calls on Sundays or holidays such as Christmas or Easter. Further restrictions on dates and times will exist, so check your state for applicable rules.

Adding your number to the registry to block calls is very simple. You can register your landline or cell phone number by calling the toll free number 1-888-382-1222, or you can submit your telephone number online at DoNotCall.gov.

Please note that if you perform the registration process online, you will have to validate your submission via a link sent to your email within 72 hours.

Generally speaking, your number should show up on the do not call list within one business day. However, businesses have 31 days to stop calling your telephone number.

Yes. You can register as many telephone numbers to the list as you have. Many people add both their landline and cell phone numbers to the list. You do not have to pay any fees to register additional telephone numbers to the list.

No. Once you add your number to the do not call list, it will stay there until you ask for the FTC to remove it or you disconnect or reassign the number. So, if your old phone number is on the list, make sure you remember to register your new number as it will not carry over.

No. The federal Do Not Call List is meant for personal numbers only. It does not cover fax numbers or company numbers. Note that there is a separate federal law that restricts unsolicited faxes.

Will the registry stop all unwanted calls? Placing your number on the national registry will stop most telemarketing calls but will not stop all unwanted calls. For example, the national registry still allows unsolicited calls from the following types of institutions:

  • Non profit organizations
  • Political organizations
  • Calls from a charitable organization
  • Persons conducting surveys
  • Business to business calls
  • Bill collectors
  • Companies within 31 days of submitting your number to a do not call list

The point of the national register is to stop unwanted calls from companies that sell goods. A nonprofit organization can make unsolicited calls.

These companies are generally exempt from the do not call lists, but they still have some regulations on how and when they can call. For example, debt collectors and a credit card company can only call during "reasonable" hours and, depending on the state, cannot call people who file for bankruptcy.

Established Business Relationship Exemption
The Do Not Call list also has exemptions for established business relationships. An established business relationship (EBR) is a pre-existing relationship between a company and an individual in which the individual inquires about a business's goods and services or has bought something from a company.

If an EBR exists, a company can call a consumer within three months of soliciting information and within 18 months of purchase. For example, if you bought something from a company within the past year and a half, then they can call you, even if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

What About Robocalls?
The Do Not Call List does not cover robocalls. Robocalls are already illegal unless the call is purely for informational services, such as appointment confirmation, or the company has the consumer's permission to contact them that way. Otherwise, all companies must have a live person perform calls. If you receive a robocall, hang up immediately and report them to the FTC.

How About Charities?
The language of the federal Do Not Call list explicitly exempts charities. A charitable organization can solicit charitable contributions even if the call recipient is on the do not call list. There may still be state-specific regulations on how and when charitable organizations and nonprofit organizations can contact consumers.

If you receive an unsolicited call from a phone number, you can report that call online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. When you report the number, make sure you include the entire number, including area codes – even numbers that may be fake. You can also report the time and date the calls took place to help FTC enforcement better.

The FTC receives hundreds of complaints a day, so you may not get a direct response. However, the FTC releases all reported numbers to telecommunications service providers to help cut down on the number of bogus calls.

In addition to the National Do Not Call Registry, each state has its own individual do not call registry as well. For the most part, states conform to the national registry, with some exceptions or additional restrictions for certain types of communications. For example, in California, businesses cannot send unsolicited text messages, and, in Florida, consumers must register their number to the state and do not call lists every five years.

Consumers on the federal Do Not Call list may also want to register their phone numbers on the state list as well. State lists may have different requirements and restrictions than the federal list.

As of 2021, calling a number on the national do not call list can result in a maximum civil penalty of $43,280. The civil penalty for violating a state do not call list can range between $100 and $25,000 per violation. Further violations can result in harsher enforcement action, such as legal sanctions or revocation of business license. Since the Do Not Call list formation, the FTC has fined hundreds of companies and distributed over $1 billion in penalties.

As a business owner, the law requires you to regularly update your calling lists to conform to the national list. Generally speaking, the FTC can find your company, even if you accidentally call a consumer's number on the list.

However, there is a "safe harbor" clause that protects liability if:

  • Your company performs Do Not Call compliance training
  • You monitor the company's calling activity
  • The company has a business-specific do not call list
  • Your company has procedures for ensuring compliance
  • Your company has a history of updating restricted caller lists
  • Your company accidentally made the call

If you are a business owner, it is illegal to use the information on the Do Not Call list for any purpose other than removing numbers from your in-house calling lists.

Since January 1, 2005, all companies that sell real goods via telephone surveyors must search the federal Do Not Call list and remove any present numbers from their calling lists. Companies must register online and provide their business name, address, and other contact information.

Companies have to pay a $66 annual fee to get access to numbers on the register. The Do Not Call list organizes numbers by area codes, and companies can get a list of up to five area codes for free when they register. Further lists for area codes cost $59 per area code, up to $16,000. The FTC only charges $30 per area code during the second six months of your subscription. Companies must purchase more area codes if they want to expand their call lists.

Yes, if you are subject to repeated unwanted calls from telemarketers, consumer protection laws allow you to file a lawsuit to stop the company and receive compensation. A recent class-action lawsuit awarded $25 million in damages to the filers and made the company give free services to them.

The Do Not Call list can significantly reduce the number of unsolicited calls that you receive. However, the registry cannot avoid all unsolicited telemarketing calls. Many companies skirt FTC regulations by buying contact information from third party sellers who claim that they have calling lists with written permission to contact consumers.

Additionally, many companies "spoof" caller ID information and use a fake area code to make it harder to track their illegal activity. Your caller ID service may report a number that does not go to a real phone. If you suspect that someone contacted you with a spoofed number, report it to the FTC anyway. They can try to track the caller ID information to find where the call originated.

Even though the do not call list forbids unsolicited telemarketing calls and recorded message calls, many companies still perform them. You can download call-blocking apps from CTIA to protect registered numbers even more.

How Is the FTC Trying to Stop Do Not Call Violations?
Since the formation of the Do Not Call list, the FTC has penalized hundreds of companies and rewarded billions in settlement fees. The FTC also provides an accessible portal where consumers can report Do Not Call violations. Additionally, the FTC has developed technologies to help combat and block illegal calls.

What Services Do You Offer?
Possible Now offers customer consent and preference management solutions to companies in all industries. Our Compliance by Design systems mitigate risks and put your customers in control of their data. Our consumer protection services achieve much more than just regulatory compliance.

Compliance Service Pricing Options
Pricing options for our Do Not Call compliance services start at $150 a month. Our DNCSolution can organize all consent aspects of your company and mitigate risk across your platforms. Our software gives you a way to ensure Do Not Call compliance, as well as compliance with other TCPA regulations for telemarketing calls.

If you would like to learn more about our consent, preference, insight, and compliance data solutions, contact PossibleNow online to request a free demo or call us at 1-866-393-4576 to speak to a sales representative!

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