The national Do-Not-Call Registry is a database created by the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to allow consumers to opt out of telemarketing phone calls. Commercial telemarketers must remove phone numbers from their databases within 31 days of the number appearing on the Do-Not-Call list.
While the Do-Not-Call Registry prevents calls from most telemarketers, there are a few exceptions that allow companies to contact consumers listed on the registry. Companies may contact consumers with whom they have an established business relationship, and telemarketers may contact consumers if the call contains no sales pitches or advertisements. In addition, nonprofit organizations that have established a tax-exempt status are not bound by the Do-Not-Call list.
In addition to the registry, the FCC and FTC also established rules that telemarketers must follow when contacting consumers. The companies cannot block Caller ID, must identify themselves to the recipient, and must call between 8am and 9pm local time.
The Do-Not-Call Registry was established due to the practices many telemarketing companies have employed in the past. Companies would often make it difficult to have a number removed from their telemarketing database, and the practice of sharing and reselling these databases made it very difficult for consumers to avoid unwanted calls. In addition, the growth of cellphones as primary phone lines for households meant that in many cases, consumers were not only wasting time with these calls but wasting money.