The National Do Not Call Registry is intended to give U.S. consumers an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. To register by telephone (US), consumers may call 1-888-382-1222. The registry was set to begin in 2003, but a court challenge delayed its implementation until 2004. The law provides exceptions to a blanket do-not-call ruling. Separate laws and regulations apply to robocalls in the United States.
On June 27, 2003, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened the National Do Not Call Registry in order to comply with the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003 (Public Law No. 108-10, was H.R. 395 of the 108th Congress, and codified at 15 U.S.C. § 6101 et. seq.), sponsored by Representatives Billy Tauzin and John Dingell and signed into law by President George W. Bush on March 11, 2003. The law established the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry in order to facilitate compliance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.
Registration for the Do-Not-Call list began on June 27, 2003, and enforcement started on October 1, 2003. Since January 1, 2005, telemarketers covered by the registry have up to 31 days (initially the period was 90 days) from the date a number is registered to cease calling that number. Originally, phone numbers remained on the registry for a period of five years, but are now permanent because of the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, effective February 2008.
Cell phone numbers need not be included on the registry to avoid unsolicited calls. FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from calling a cellular phone number with an automatic dialer. In 2005, a rumor began circulating via e-mail that cell phone providers were planning on making their number directories available to telemarketers. The FTC responded by clarifying that cell phones cannot be called by telemarketers. Similarly, fax numbers do not need to be included in the registry due to existing federal laws and regulations that prohibit the sending of unsolicited faxes.
If a person does not want to register a number on the national registry, he or she can still prohibit individual telemarketers from calling by asking the caller to put the called number on the company’s do-not-call list.