The phone rings in the middle of dinner with the family. You pick it up, say hello and listen for a response. After a few seconds, the caller finally responds and launches into a sales pitch for a product or service you don't need. Most people hang up without a word, some angrily tell the caller to never call again and others politely excuse themselves. The Do Not Call Registry can help you avoid unsolicited calls like this.
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started the National Do Not Call Registry in 2003 in response to the overwhelming number of complaints from consumers who felt inundated and harassed by calls from telemarketers. After a number of workshops, meetings, briefings and the review of more than 64,000 consumer comments overwhelmingly in favour of the creation of such a registry, the FTC reviewed the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and made the appropriate changes. The registry allows consumers to have a choice about whether they receive telemarketing calls to their personal or business phone lines.
Visit the National Do Not Call Registry website (see the Resources link below) to register your telephone numbers (up to three at a time). If you wish to register by phone, you can register one number at a time by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register and following the prompts. You can register any phone line in your name, including home land lines, cellphones and your company's phone. While the FTC does not permit telemarketers to use automatic dialers to call cellphones, they can still dial your cell number manually. After registering your phone numbers, FTC sends you an individual e-mail for each number. You must click on the link provided in the email within 72 hours in order to complete the registration for that phone number.
After you complete the registration, your telephone number shows up on the Do Not Call Registry on the next business day. However, telemarketers have 31 days to remove your number from their call list and automatic dialers. You can delete your number from the No Call Registry at any time by calling the toll-free number (1-888-382-1222) from the number you wish deleted. Telemarketers have 31 days to access information regarding the deletion of the number. Registries do not expire. Removal from the registry occurs (other than personal deletion) if there is a disconnection or reassignment of the number. If the phone company disconnects your phone line due to nonpayment and reconnects after you pay your bill, you must register the number.
The National Do Not Call Registry adds registered telephone numbers to a list and the FTC requires telemarketers to access this registry every 31 days, obtaining your telephone number in order to delete it from their records. If you register online, the Do Not Call Registry obtains your e-mail address as well but does not share that with telemarketers. The FTC can share the telephone number you provide with law enforcement as requested in order to comply with federal and state laws in an investigation.
The registry doesn't cover political organisations, telephone survey companies or charities; all are still free to contact you. If you establish a business relationship with a company by using its service or purchasing a product, that company can contact you through telemarketers. You must specifically tell them, orally or in writing, to remove you from their call list. If a telemarketer who does not fit into these categories calls you at a number you registered more than 31 days before the call, you can file a complaint online (see Resources) or by calling the toll-free number. You must have the caller's name or telephone number and the date of the call to file a complaint.
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