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CRS – Telemarketing Regulation: National and State Do Not Call Registries

Telemarketing Regulation: National and State Do Not Call Registries. Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. August 14, 2014

“Today, it is axiomatic that telemarketers in the United States generally are not permitted to place outgoing telemarketing calls to phone numbers on the national do not call list, unless an exception applies. This was not always the case, however. The National Do Not Call Registry was implemented by Congress and by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to widespread frustration on the part of citizens with what was perceived to be abusive telemarketing practices. Particularly irritating and invasive were the numerous calls to residences on the part of telemarketers during dinner hours. In an
attempt to address these complaints, Congress granted the FTC and the FCC the authority to regulate telemarketing practices. From these initial grants of regulatory authority grew the National Do Not Call Registry. The development and implementation of the national do not call list was not straightforward. No single law creates the list. Instead, it developed from a combination of statute and regulation over time, as Congress and the federal agencies tasked with the responsibility of regulating telemarketing developed strategies to better alleviate perceived consumer harm. This report will outline the laws underpinning the national do not call list, describe the regulations implementing the list, answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to the list, and discuss the possible penalties for violating the rules. The report will also briefly discuss some of the ways the various states have implemented their own do not call lists.”


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