The Do Not Call list was initiated in 2009 to protect consumers’ home telephone numbers from unwanted commercial calls. Over 200 million phone numbers are currently registered on this list. One must register any new or changed phone number on the list to get its protection. It stops most commercial calls, although there are some exceptions for any business one has previously done business with and some exceptions for local businesses. It also does not apply to nonprofit organizations, bill collectors, pollsters and some other organizations.
According to the FTC, this is how a consumer can register a home phone number on the Do Not Call List:
You may register online at donotcall.gov, provided you have a working email address, or by phone, by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the number you wish to register. Registration is free.
If you register by phone, you must call from the number you want to register. If you register online, you must provide an email address for confirmation. The system will send you a confirmation email that you will have to open. Click on the link in it within 72 hours for your online registration to be complete.”
31 days after registration is complete, its protections apply to the consumer. If one still receives such commercial calls, one can file a complaint at donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). Unfortunately, one needs to know the company’s name or phone number which can be a problem with some persistent callers, unless one has caller ID. One also needs the date of the call. There are real teeth to this – a fine of $16,000 per illegal call.
The FTC has sponsored a contest to develop an application which will allow for the automatic blocking of unwanted commercial calls, but its development is not yet complete).