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September 2008

The National “Do Not Call” List

How to register -- and avoid most unwanted commercial phone calls.

The federal “Do Not Call” registry has sharply reduced unwanted commercial telemarketing calls. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free -- and you can still sign up. More than 168 million Americans have registered, including 1,811,765 Iowa phones as of July 31.

How to register, and how to file a complaint if you are called after 31 days of the date you register:

  • Register by calling toll-free to 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register. The TTY is 1-866-290-4236 (text telephone for hearing impaired). Or . .
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  • Register on-line at www.donotcall.gov. You will need to provide an e-mail address for confirmation, but only your phone number will be kept in the Do Not Call registry.

  • You can register home phones and cell phones. Registered numbers will be put on the national Do Not Call list permanently (unless you choose to take your number off the list.) The list is managed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

  • The federal law requires commercial telemarketers to search the registry every 31 days and remove numbers from their call lists. Telemarketers that violate the rules may be fined up to $11,000 per call. Most telemarketers are complying with the new law, so unwanted commercial telemarketing calls are way down for people who registered.

  • Consumers can expect fewer calls within 31 days of signing up for the registry.

  • If you register and still receive a prohibited call after 31 days following the date you register, you may file a complaint by calling the toll-free registry number,1-888-382-1222, or going to the FTC web site: www.donotcall.gov. Follow the directions to file your complaint. You must file your complaint with the FTC Do Not Call registry.

Note that some telephone callers are exempt from the Do Not Call law, including charities, political organizations, and telephone surveyors. Also, if you have a business relationship with a company, it is exempt from the rules for up to 18 months after the latest purchase, payment, or delivery. But, note: If you TELL such business telemarketers not to call you again, they must not call you. If a professional fund-raiser calls you on behalf of a charity, and you tell them not to call again, they also must put you on their do-not-call list.