Federal and state governments have set up do-not-call registries, which allow consumers to remove their telephone number from a telemarketer’s list. This applies to phone solicitation only. There are exceptions to the laws, but if a company violates the law, as, say, in California, the fine per call can be up to $11,000.
Who is exempt? Charities, political groups and companies which have an established relationship with a consumer. Businesses are allowed to call:
• Anyone who is not on the do-not-call registry
• Any customer for 18 months after the date of their last purchase, payment or delivery
• Any person who has made an inquiry or submitted an application during the past three months
• If you are a business owner calling and you are calling within 50 miles of your home (i.e. no paid solicitors)
• Business to business solicitations, except if you are selling non-durable cleaning or office supplies (anything that can be used and requires replacing)
Calling across state lines? If you are calling across state lines and the person asks you not to call, you must honor that request, even if you have an established business relationship.
How consumers register their number to prevent solicitation
Consumers can register online at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt107.shtm or call (888)382-1222.
How the system works: A firm that is going to telemarket to individuals must register for access to the Do-Not-Call list. Registration and access is free for 1 to 5 area codes. After that, there is an annual $45 per area code fee, with a maximum $15,400 for the entire U.S.
To register, go to https://telemarketing.donotcall.gov., and set up a profile that includes the area codes to be solicited. They will be issued a “SAN” number which will allow them access to the phone numbers registered for those area codes. These are the phone numbers that they cannot call unless the firm meets the exemptions above.
Questions? This information is an overview. Please visit the sites below for complete information because firms may be subject to record-keeping requirements. They must comply with federal requirements if they call across state lines and state requirements if the calls are within a state.
Information for consumers is available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/donotcall/index.html.