Congressman Mike Doyle

Representing the 18 District of Pennsylvania

The Do-Not-Call Improvement Act

The National Do-Not-Call Registry was established in 2003, and it is managed by the Federal Trade Commission and enforced by the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission, and state law enforcement officials.  
 
Most telemarketers are not allowed to call your phone number once it has been on the Registry for 31 days.  If they do, you can file a complaint against them with the FTC and they can be forced to pay a fine.  
 
The federal Do-Not-Call Registry is one of the most successful government programs ever created.  Over 130 million telephone numbers have been added to the National Do Not Call Registry since its creation.  
 
Unfortunately, federal regulations originally required the Registry to automatically remove individuals’ numbers after 5 years.  Consequently, starting in June 2008, millions of people would have begun receiving telemarketing calls again.  Many of them might not even have realized that their listing had expired – and that they needed to add their number to the Do-Not-Call list again if they wanted to keep blocking telemarketers’ phone calls.  Over 50 million phone numbers would have been purged from the Do Not Call Registry within a year.  The hassle for consumers would have been tremendous.
 
It made no sense to me that consumers would be required to sign up repeatedly for the National Do-Not-Call-Registry every couple of years.  That’s why I introduced legislation in 2007 to make registration with the federal ‘do not call’ list permanent (H.R. 3541).  Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced similar legislation in the Senate (S. 2096).  The Do-Not-Call Improvement Act was approved by both the House and the Senate and signed into law (Public Law No: 110-187) on February 15, 2008.
 
Under this law, consumers’ phone numbers on the federal Do Not Call Registry will no longer be automatically removed after five years.  So now, someone only has to sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry once.   On the other hand, this law allows individuals to take their names off the Do Not Call list any time they want if they wish to do so.  It also gives the FTC the authority to scrub numbers that are invalid or don’t belong on the list.
 
AARP, Consumers Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Consumerist.com, and the American Teleservices Association all endorsed this pro-consumer bill to make the Do-Not-Call List better.
 
I'm happy to have been able to help reduce the number of annoying phone calls Americans get during dinner!
 
Click here to read more about the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act.