The Federal Trade Commission, as required by The Do-Not-Call Registry Fee Extension Act of 2007, has approved two reports to Congress: a biennial report focusing on the use of the Do Not Call Registry by both consumers and businesses, as well as the impact that new technologies have had on the Registry, and a one-time report on enforcement efforts and consumers’ perceptions of the Registry’s effectiveness.
As detailed in the first report, the Do Not Call Registry now has more than 191 million active registrations, and more than 18 million new phone numbers were registered in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. During that time, approximately 45,000 sellers, telemarketers, and exempt organizations such as charities subscribed to access the Registry, paying fees totaling more than $15.5 million. In addition, during FY 2009, the FTC implemented a new procedure for tracking disconnected and reassigned phone numbers, which addresses problems that may arise as a result of new telecommunications technologies and the ease of transporting numbers from one telephone service provider to another.
According to the second report, since 2003 when the Do Not Call Registry was put in place, research has consistently shown widespread public awareness of the program and a steady increase in the number of phone numbers registered. Together, the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission have collected penalties totaling over $22 million from Registry violators, and due to these enforcement actions and the agencies’ consumer education campaigns, consumers who have joined the Registry have reported dramatic reductions in the number of unwanted calls they receive.
The FTC also has brought many enforcement actions against entities that have tried to circumvent the Registry’s rules by falsely claiming to have an established business relationship with consumers. Finally, both the FTC and FCC have adopted regulations that generally prohibit “abandoning” telephone calls – that is, delivering a pre-recorded message instead of connecting a consumer to a live representative when a consumer answer the call. Since December 2003, the FTC also has brought 18 enforcement actions against telemarketers for unlawfully using pre-recorded mass “robocalls.”