U.S. federal communications agency revisits do-not-call registry

April 19, 2005

The FCC issued a consumer advisory on April 15 in response to a recent flurry of e-mails claiming cell phone users will soon have their phones assaulted by telemarketers. In a paper titled The Truth about Cell Phones and the National Do Not Call Registry, the FCC reasserted that it is prohibited for telemarketers to use automated dialers to contact U.S. cell phones.

The paper notes the federal government itself does not maintain a national cell phone registry. Users of the do-not-call registry can, if they choose to, add cell numbers in addition to their traditional land-line listings. Up to three numbers per e-mail address can be added if done on-line.

The much anticipated do-not-call registry went live in October 2003. The registry has, in the FCC’s own words, been an “overwhelmingly popular initiative.” It serves as an option for consumers to stop unwanted telemarketing calls and currently contains over 80 million subscribers.

Additionally, in an FCC change to the registry guidelines effective January 2005, telemarketers are now required to update their call lists against the registry once each month. Previously, the update requirement was once every 3 months. Newer regulations also require marketers to unblock their numbers so users of caller ID will know when a telemarketer calls.

The U.S. contact information is 1-888-382-1222 by phone, or https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx by Internet, and registry to the do-not-call list is free.