FTC Vows Not To Expire Numbers From The Do Not Call List

The FTC will vow in Congressional testimony today not to purge numbers on the Do Not Call List while Congress considers making registrations permanent. Do Not Call registrations currently last for five years, and are set to start expiring in April 2008 despite the list’s broad popularity: 92% of Americans have heard of the list, 76% have added their number, and 92% claim to receive fewer calls marketing calls. Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hail the list for ‘restoring the sanctity of the American dinner hour.’

The FTC’s promise, after the jump.

The Commission adopted the five-year re-registration requirement based on the information it had in 2003. Since then, several changes have taken place. First, changes in the marketplace, including increased usage of cell phones and increased popularity of telephone number portability, may have had an impact on data underlying the 2003 rulemaking proceeding. Second, the legal landscape has become clearer because we have more information about how courts view consumers’ privacy in this context. Third, the Registry has been implemented successfully for nearly 5 years, and has included a scrubbing program through which telephone numbers that have been disconnected and reassigned are purged from the Registry on a monthly basis. Fourth, the Registry has enjoyed unprecedented popularity and helped enhance the privacy of the American public in a tangible way.

As a result of these changes, the Commission now commits that it will not drop any telephone numbers from the Registry based on the five-year expiration period pending final Congressional or agency action on whether to make registration permanent. The Commission will continue its robust efforts to maintain the Registry’s accuracy and ensuring the continued success of the Do Not Call program.

The Subcommittee is meeting this morning to markup H.R. 2601, which would reauthorize the Do Not Call List through 2012. The bill does not yet include language from H.R. 3541 to make registrations permanent, but the Subcommittee could add such language during the markup, or the full Energy and Commerce Committee could separately take up the bill when it meets on Thursday.

The FTC’s announcement is an undeniable victory for consumers, one that will hopefully push Congress to make Do Not Call registrations permanent.

S. 2096 [GovTrack]
H.R. 3541 [GovTrack]
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Should Do Not Call List Registrations Last Forever?
(Photo: Eduardo Mendes (Smile=P))


Edit Your Comment

  1. HeyThereKiller says:

    so is that the same 92% that have heard of the list? Or 92% of the 76% that are on the list?

    After hearing that like 183048% of American’s didn’t realize you need to subscribe to an HD service to get HDTV, it wouldn’t really surprise me to hear that people who heard of the do not call registry would then claim to have received fewer calls.

  2. mantari says:

    DO NOT CALL CAT does not want you to call.

  3. OK, I’m digging the list not expiring as much as the next person but “the sanctity of the American dinner hour”? Really? Really?

    Would someone like to explain to me what’s so holy or sacred about eating some beef and mashed potatoes?

  4. trillium says:

    Got an interesting story on the “Do Not Call List”. My MIL is plagued by unsolicited phone calls. Everytime I go visit on vacation (about twice a year) the phone starts ringing at 9 am and doesn’t stop until well after dark…

    We’ve offered to help put her on the DNC list…

    She won’t have anything to do with it.


    She doesn’t want to feel the guilt knowing that if she was on the Do Not Call List, it would cost people their jobs since they wouldn’t have anyone to call.

    There is no reasoning with her… so I wonder how many other people follow the same reasoning?

  5. mantari says:

    @trillium: If you register for her, on her behalf, even without her knowing, I wouldn’t blame you.

  6. kimsama says:

    @trillium: I worked at MBNA for about a month in college (ugh), and the line they told their employees was that the Do Not Call list would actually make everything better for employees, because we wouldn’t be wasting our time calling people who wouldn’t buy anything anyway.

    If your MIL never buys anything, she is actually hurting someone’s sales per calls average. Let her know it’s better to remove herself from the list so the employees have a smaller pool of people to call (who actually may buy something), thus increasing their success rate for their shift.

    Not sure how much difference this actually makes in terms of $ for employees, but it does make sense. I would never buy anything from a telemarketer, so why waste their time and mine? It’s more efficient to cut myself out. It makes a good argument to tell her, at least.

  7. DTWD says:
  8. DTWD says:


    Hooray, it didn’t work.

  9. Chairman-Meow says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    Most sales calls occur during the dinner hours because the marking company knows you are likely to be home during this time of day when they call.

  10. Crim Law Geek says:

    Is it just me, or are that cat’s eyes _really_ freaky, and vaguely Hypo Toad-ish

  11. @Front_Towards_Enemy: Yeah, but that doesn’t make it “holy”. I’m questioning the use of the word “sanctity” not that people want to protect the dinner hour. I’m all for not getting phone calls during dinner I just don’t think dinner is sacred.

    @thirdgen: It isn’t just you. Definitely a Hypno Cat.

  12. ElizabethD says:

    I love love love the DNC list. We used to be bombarded with calls from approximately 5:30 until 8ish every night. Now, maybe we get one or two per WEEK, and from nonprofit fundraisers.

    To me, the DNC list is one of those rare measures that makes almost everyone (except telemarketers) happy and that pretty much works the way it’s supposed to, on a nationwide scale.

    Also: Caller ID is our friend.

  13. pdxguy says:

    the cat looks like it had a triple espresso or something very caffienated.

  14. Buran says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I think they are going for the “inviolability” meaning of “sanctity”.

  15. ret3 says:

    But you don’t need to subscribe to any service to get HD content; with a proper digital tuner, you can get HDTV over the air from local broadcasters.

  16. n/a says:

    That cat will steal your soul.

  17. Geekybiker says:

    Or you could just move to a cell-only phone setup. I dont get solicted on mine.

  18. Beerad says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Yeah, I think we’re talking “sanctity” as in preserving the dedicated nature of the dinner hour as family time, something to be respected, a ritual that families observe, cherish, and try to protect.

    Not so much “sanctity” as in “this dinner hour has been blessed by the deity and/or religious officiant of your choice.” Although if that works for you, hey that’s cool too.

    @Geekybiker: Doesn’t that only work if you never give out your phone number?

  19. @Buran: Ah, thanks. That makes way more sense.

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    AWEsome kitty. Although I get the inexplicable urge to go buy a pound of catnip to scatter around the neighborhood for some strange reason…

  21. StevieD says:


    Right on !

    I am watching network TV via my desktop computer.

    HD looks really nice on a 24″ widescreen only 18″ from my nose.

    And the best part….. it is free. Ok, I did have to buy a TV card and antenna, but what the heck, it is nearly free.

  22. bookling says:

    I still don’t get what the big deal is. I’m not on the DNC list and don’t receive many telemarketing calls. The ones I do get, I screen out with Caller ID. The phone ringing a couple of times a day is not a huge disturbance for me.

    That’s not to say that I have anything against those of you who ARE bothered by calls, but honestly, I don’t think Congress should be involved. Don’t they have more important things to be focusing on?

  23. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    its really hard to be angry at the government with a post pic so delightful.
    could we try a photo of a business man punching an elderly person instead?

  24. blythehenderson says:

    I have registered my number with the bunk no call list and I get more teleamarketing calls now than ever. It got so bad I had to call my phone company (ATT) and the FTC to try to solve the problem but no help. I had to change my number to get away from harassing phone calls made by some collection agency asking for some guy Ive never heard of. As if thats not bad enough they got my cell phone # (ATT) and started calling and texting me at .15 cents a pop. So now I have no cell phone after canceling and waiting for it to cool down. I HATE ATT… AND TELEAMARKETERS!!!!

  25. KJones says:

    The “Do Not Call” list is an obscenity. The public should not have to tell businesses not to call, businesses should require our permission to call in the first place.

    The fact that government acceded to business instead of individual privacy when they created the “Do Not Call” list proves who it is they really serve. Don’t bet the farm that the number of calls will drop to zero. Instead, expect businesses to create more “subsidiaries” and overseas shell companies and say, “You didn’t say ‘no’ to _that_ company…!”