FCC Extends 'Do-Not-Call' Registry
The popular national "Do-Not-Call" registry designed to stop unwanted telemarketers from calling consumers has been extended by the government agency overseeing the nation's communications systems. The previous rules said the registrations would expire after five years.
The registry was set to expire this month, but the Federal Communications Commission yesterday released an order (pdf) saying new, amended rules mandate that "do-not-call registrations must be honored indefinitely, or until the registration is cancelled by the consumer of the telephone number is removed by the database administrator."
Agency Chairman Kevin Martin said in a prepared statement (pdf) that the regulations would have begun to expire shortly "leaving millions of consumers without protection from unwanted telemarketing calls."
"This rule change serves to minimize the inconvenience to consumers of having to re-register their phone numbers every five years and furthers the underlying goal of the Registry to protect consumer privacy rights," according to a document released by the FCC. "This will minimize confusion for those consumers that have chosen to avoid unwanted telemarketing calls and avoid the inconvenience of having to re-register every five years."
Businesses of all sizes should note this extention so as not to suddenly begin telemarketing to members of this list. If your business is listed on the registry, then its privacy should remain in tact.
President Bush signed a law (pdf) in February prohibiting the automatic removal of numbers from the registry. The same day, he also signed a measure (pdf) reducing the fees businesses must pay to access the registry.
The Federal Trade Commission, which collects fees from registry users, now charges a $54 annual fee for each area code or data (the first five area codes are free) or $14,850 annually for access to every area code of data contained in the registry. Prior to this legislation, the FTC charged an annual fee of $62 per area code after the first five area codes or $17,050 per year for complete access.
FTC data show that more than 157 million phone numbers have been included in the registry since it opened in June 2003.
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