FAQs Regarding the Do-Not-Call List for the United States
These FAQs May Address Your Questions.
The United States National Do-Not-Call list blocks telemarketers from calling you! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched the National Do Not Call Registry to give Americans a choice about getting telemarketing calls at home. According to a recent Harris Interactive poll,92 percent of people who reported placing a number on the registry said they are receiving fewer calls; a total of 78 percent said they're getting "far fewer calls" or none at all.The National Do Not Call Registry gives you an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls you receive. Once you register your phone number, telemarketers covered by the National Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days (starting January 1, 2005) from the date you register to stop calling you.
- What Phone Numbers Can I
Register? Can I register my cell phone on the National Do Not Call
Yes, you may place your personal cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. The registry has accepted cell phone numbers since it opened for registrations in June 2003. There is no deadline to register a home or cell phone number on the Registry.
You may have received an email telling you that your cell phone is about to be assaulted by telemarketing calls as a result of a new cell phone number database; however, that is not the case. FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers don't call consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
- When can I file a do not call complaint?
If your number has been on the National Do Not Call Registry for at least 31 days (starting January 1, 2005) and you receive a call from a telemarketer that you believe is covered by the National Do Not Call Registry, you can file a complaint at the registry's website at www.donotcall.gov or by calling the registry's toll-free number at 1-888-382-1222 (for TTY, call 1-866-290-4236). To file a complaint, you must know either the name or telephone number of the company that called you, and the date the company called you.
- How do I file a do not call complaint? What do I
need to file a complaint?
You can file your complaint on the registry's website, www.donotcall.gov, using the File a Complaint page. You must know either the name or the phone number of the company that called you. You also must provide the date that the company called you and your registered phone number. You may provide your name and address, but it's not required for you to submit a complaint. You also may call the registry's toll-free number at (1-888-382-1222) to file a complaint (for TTY, call 1-866-290-4236).
- What happens to my complaint?
Do not call complaints will be entered into the FTC's Consumer Sentinel system, a secure, online database available to more than 1,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies. While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint will help us investigate the company and could lead to law enforcement action.
- What if I get a telemarketing call, but can't get
the telemarketer's name or phone number?
For law enforcement officials to take action on your complaint, they need either the telemarketer's name or phone number, as well as the date of the call. If you want to report a do not call violation, please get that information.
- Who manages the National Do Not Call Registry?
The National Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency. It is enforced by the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and state law enforcement officials.
- Why was the National Do Not Call Registry created?
The registry was created to offer consumers a choice regarding telemarketing calls. The FTC's decision to create the National Do Not Call Registry was the culmination of a comprehensive, three-year review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), as well as the Commission's extensive experience enforcing the TSR over seven years. The FTC held numerous workshops, meetings, and briefings to solicit feedback from interested parties and considered over 64,000 public comments, most of which favored creating the registry. You can review the entire record of the Rule review at
- How soon after I register will I notice a reduction
As of January 1, 2005, telemarketers covered by the National Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the date you register to stop calling you.
- When I register my phone number, how long until it
shows up on the National Do Not Call Registry?
After you register, your phone number will show up on the registry by the next day. Telemarketers have up to 31 days to get your phone number and remove it from their call lists.
- What if I change my mind? Can I take my number off
the National Do Not Call Registry?
You can delete your phone number only by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number you want to delete. After you contact the registry to delete it, it will be removed from the National Do Not Call Registry by the next day. But telemarketers have up to 31 days to access information about your deletion and add your number back to their call lists, if they choose to.
- If I registered by phone, will I receive a
No, but you can verify that your number is on the registry online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling the registry's toll-free number (1-888-382-1222) and following the prompts for verifying that your number is on the registry.
- I received a phone call from someone offering to
put my name on the National Do Not Call Registry. Should I let them?
No. The FTC does not allow private companies or other such third parties to register consumers for the National Do Not Call Registry. Websites or phone solicitations that claim they can or will register a consumer's name or phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry - especially those that charge a fee - are almost certainly a scam. Consumers may register directly, or through some state governments, but never through private companies. For consumers, the National Do Not Call Registry is a free service of the federal government.
- What About the Privacy of My Information?
If I choose to register my phone number, how will my information be used and disclosed?
We collect your phone number and store it in the National Do Not Call Registry so that telemarketers and sellers covered by the FTC's rules can remove your phone number from their call lists. Telemarketers are required to search the registry every 31 days and delete from their call lists phone numbers that are in the registry. Phone numbers in the registry also may be shared with law enforcement to assure compliance with federal and state law.
- If you contact us via the Internet, we also
collect your email address to confirm your registration request. We will
store your email address in a secure manner, separate from your telephone
number. We will not share your email address with telemarketers.
- Can I register all my family and friends?
You should register only your own telephone numbers.
- I have more than three personal telephone numbers.
How can I register all of those numbers?
You may register up to three telephone numbers at one time on the National Do Not Call Registry website. You will receive a separate confirmation email for each number you wish to register online. You must open each email and click on the link in each one to complete the registration process. If you have more than three personal telephone numbers, you will have to go through the registration process more than once to register all of your numbers. There is a limit on the number of phone numbers you can register in this manner.
You can register only one phone number each time you call the National Do Not Call Registry, and you must call from the phone number you wish to register.
- What happens if I register more than one number at
a time online?
You will get an email for each number you register online. You need to open each email and click on the link in each email within 72 hours to register those numbers.
- Can I register my business phone number or a fax
The National Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers. Business-to-business calls and faxes are not covered by the National Do Not Call Registry.
- When Does My Registration Expire?
How long does my phone number stay registered?
Your phone number will remain on the registry for five years from the date you register (unless you choose to take it off the registry or your phone number is disconnected). If you register online, you may want to print the Web page for your records when your registration is accepted.
- How can I find out when my registration expires?
You can click on the Verify a Registration button any time to check your expiration date. Your registration will expire five years from your registration date. You may want to print the Web page with your registration date for your records.
- What If I Move or My Phone Is Disconnected? I moved
and got a new phone number. Do I need to register the new number?
- Do I need to take my old phone number off the list
when I get a new number?
No. You can if you would like to, but the system will automatically remove most numbers that are disconnected and reassigned.
- What happens if my phone number is disconnected
and then reconnected?
If your number is disconnected and then reconnected, you may need to re-register. In addition, there are actions that you or your telephone company might take that could cause your registered phone number to become unregistered even if your service has not been interrupted (such as changing calling plans or other services, or changing the billing name on the account.) To verify that your number is in the Registry, go to www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236). Each time you re-register, telemarketers will have 31 days to take your number off their call lists.
- What If My Area Code
"Splits"? If my area code changes, do I need to re-register?
If the phone companies change the three-digit area code for your home or mobile phone number, you do not have to re-register it with the National Do Not Call Registry. The number with the new area code will be registered for you during the 90-day period when both the old and new area codes work. This is known as the Permissive Dialing Period.
- Do I need to delete registration of my number with
the old area code?
No. You do not need to delete the registration of your phone number with the old area code. An automated process will remove it after 90-day Permissive Dialing Period.
- Can I register online if I do not have an active
No. The online registration process requires an active email address. If you register online, we will send you an email message with a link in it. You need to click on the link in the email within 72 hours to finalize your registration. If you do not have an email address, you can register by phone
- Can I reply to the email I got when I was
No. The email address is a one-way mail service. It cannot accept incoming emails. You must click on the link within the email within 72 hours to finalize your registration.
- What if my email address changes after I register?
Will I still be able to verify my registration on the national registry?
Yes, you will be able to use your new email address to verify your phone number online.
- Will All Telemarketing Calls Stop If I Register?
If I register my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, will it stop all telemarketing calls?
No. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you've provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls.
- Are calls from political organizations or calls
soliciting for charities covered?
Political solicitations are not covered by the TSR at all, since they are not included in its definition of "telemarketing." Charities are not covered by the requirements of the national registry. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.
- What about telephone surveys?
If the call is really for the sole purpose of conducting a survey, it is not covered. Only telemarketing calls are covered - that is, calls that solicit sales of goods or services. Callers purporting to take a survey, but also offering to sell goods or services, must comply with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- My number is on the National Do Not Call Registry.
After I bought something from a company, a telemarketer representing that
organization called me. Is this a violation?
No. By purchasing something from the company, you established a business relationship with the company. As a result, even if you put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, that company may call you for up to 18 months after your last purchase or delivery from it, or your last payment to it, unless you ask the company not to call again. In that case, the company must honor your request not to call. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.
An established business relationship with a company also will be created if you make an inquiry to the company, or submit an application to it. This kind of established business relationship exists for three months after the inquiry or application. During this time, the company can call you.
If you make a specific request to that company not to call you, however, then the company may not call you, even if you have an established business relationship with that company.
- Are telemarketing calls from overseas covered?
Yes. Any telemarketers calling U.S. consumers are covered, regardless of where they are calling from. If a company within the U.S. solicits sales through an overseas professional telemarketer, that U.S. company may be liable for any violations by the telemarketer. The FTC can initiate enforcement actions against such companies.
- I'm happy to have the choice to limit
telemarketing contacts, but there are some telemarketing calls I don't mind
receiving. Is there a way to allow only certain companies to call?
Yes. If you give a company your written permission to call you, they may do so even if you have placed your number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- What is the relationship between the state do not
call lists and the National Do Not Call Registry in terms of coverage?
The National Do Not Call Registry requirements are at least as stringent as most state laws. Most unwanted telemarketing calls will be covered by the National Do Not Call Registry. States also can continue to enforce their laws, which will not be limited by the FTC. However, the FCC's requirements impact some state laws. For information on the FCC's rule, visit www.fcc.gov.
- Where can I get more information?
If you have questions or complaints regarding the Do Not Call Registry, please contact the FTC by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at:
National Do Not Call Registry
Attn: DNC Program Manager
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580
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 www.ftc.gov 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.
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!