Q:

How does the National Do Not Call registry work?

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Quick Answer

The National Do Not Call Registry allows Americans to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls from telemarketers, explains the Federal Trade Commission. Individuals can register their phone numbers online at DoNotCall.gov or by telephone. Those who register should cease to receive calls within 31 days of registration and can also confirm their registration online at any time.

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Full Answer

The FCC only allows individuals to register their own numbers, and to register no more than three numbers at one time, according to the agency's website. They can also remove themselves from the registry at any time. As of 2015, the FCC enforces the Do Not Call Registry using fines of as much as $16,000 each time a telemarketer calls a registered numbers. Individuals can report calls online or over the phone.

The Do Not Call Registry does not apply to calls for political, charitable, debt collection or polling calls, notes the FCC. Moreover, it does not apply to companies with which a person currently does business or that have written permission to call. However, anyone has the right to require a caller not to phone them again, by providing verbal notice.

In order to avoid unwanted mail, individuals can manually unsubscribe themselves from companies' marketing lists by request and can contact the Direct Marketing Association to remove their names from a number of companies' lists, according to USA.gov. Individuals can also register with the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry's opt-out program to end unsolicited credit card and insurance offers.

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