Just in time for the holidays, the Federal Trade Commission is allowing cell phone numbers to be released to telemarketers today.
The FTC has provided a DoNotCall program, for our use. Call 888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to put on the do not call list. Or, you can go to www.ftc.gov/donotcall and register up to three numbers at a time. You will receive an email for each number and you must respond within 72 hours to complete the registration, which is good for five years.
Non-profit organizations and political parties are exempt from the Do Not Call list. Also, those companies which can claim they have an “established business relationship” with you are also exempt.
Telemarketing firms are supposed to register and download a list of do not call numbers so that they can eliminate the do not calls from their calling lists.
You can file a complaint against a telemarketer you think may have broken the rules online by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/Complaint/ComplaintCheck.aspx. But, your phone number must have been in the registry for at least 31 days.
If you would like to read about a case in which a telemarketing company failed to give an accurate call back number so that consumers could complain, go to http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/scorpio.shtm. Each of the defendants in the case received a $530,000 fine, but they only had to pay a small fraction of it, and they were then free to continue with their pestering calls.