Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Updated June 27, 2003
Californians Can Register Starting April 1
National "Do Not Call" Registry Launched June 27
In 2002, the California Legislature mandated that the state's Attorney General (AG) establish a statewide do-not-call list. It was to be operational by April 1, 2003. But in December 2002, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would establish a national do-not-call list that would encompass all of the states. Rather than duplicate efforts and confuse consumers, the California AG's office instead joined with the FTC in order to merge the state's efforts with the federal list. The federal list will not be activated until October 2003. Here's how this has all transpired and what it means for you:
Beginning in April 1, 2003, Californians could visit the AG's web site and pre-register for the national do-not-call list, http://nocall.doj.state.ca.us/ . Then, on June 27, 2003 the national do-not-call registry maintained by the FTC went into effect. To register, you can call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the phone whose number you want to register. This includes home phones, cell phones, and fax lines. To register via the Internet, go to www.donotcall.gov .
Telemarketers are required to purchase the federal do-not-call registry from the FTC in September 2003 and then purchase updates thereafter on a quarterly basis. They must begin using the registry in October by making sure they do not call the individuals listed on the registry.
What does this mean for you? Consumers who register for the do-not-call list now will notice a reduction in telemarketing calls beginning October 2003.
Starting in October, the FTC and the states will begin enforcement of the do-not-call list. A telemarketer who calls a number on the list after that date can be fined up to $11,000 for each violation.
Other states that have not yet implemented their do-not-call registries, like California, are expected to feed into the FTC's list. If you are not a Californian, you can find out about your state's do-not-call list by visiting the Direct Marketing Association's web site, www.the-dma.org/government/donotcalllists.shtml .
California online pre-registration, April 1, 2003 through June 27, 2003:
California Attorney General's web site, http://nocall.doj.state.ca.us/ 
FTC registration, online and telephone:
The toll-free number for nationwide registration is 1-888-382-1222 as announced by the Federal Trade Commission in June. Telephone registration will be phased-in region-by-region during a two-week period starting with states West of the Mississippi the first week and all other states the second week. Online registration is available at www.donotcall.gov .
To learn more about the Federal Trade Commission's do-not-call registry, visit its web site at www.ftc.gov/donotcall  or read the recent press release announcing its official launch www.ftc.gov/opa/2003/06/donotcall.htm .
Consumers' names will remain on the registry for five years or until they change their phone number. At that point, consumers will be able to renew their registration.
Those industries under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) such as long distance companies and financial institutions also will have to comply with the do-not-call registry. Therefore, after October, the only telemarketing calls consumers who have registered for the list will receive are from nonprofit organizations, telephone surveys, politicians, and businesses with which there is an existing business relationship within the last 18 months. For more information about the FCC inclusion in the national do-not-call list, see:
Benefits of single national list:
The AG has outlined the benefits of merging the California and FTC do-not-call registries, as follows:
- Cost effective. The California list was to have cost consumers a small fee. The federal registry is free. Simplified registration. Consumers will need to register on only one list, not two.
- Enforcement. The federal database is available to state AGs for enforcement.
Watch out for scams:
Consumers are cautioned to check out the legitimacy of do not call lists. Both the California Attorney General  and the FTC  have already shut down bogus operations where scam artists sought to take illegal advantage of consumers. The Federal Communications Commission also has issued a consumer alert  on scams taking improper advantage of do not call registry programs.