Cell phone directories and telemarketers

The other day, someone sent me a warning about how cell phone companies are going to put together a national registry of cell phones and sell them to telemarketers. Working for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, I already knew that most of this was false (and that friend should have known better, since he used to work there with me). However, a follow-up from his source (with a huge apology) led to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) web site. The FTC states the following direct quotes on its web site (which is listed at the end of this blog):

  • FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
  • The federal government does not maintain a national cell phone registry. Personal cell phone users have always been able to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry — the same Registry consumers use to register their land lines — either online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they wish to register. Registrations become effective within 31 days of signing up and are active for five years. There is no cut-off date or deadline for registrations.

Snopes also has a good article on this. It further explains that some of the wireless providers created a consortium and hired a consultant to produce a wireless subscriber directory. Two of the providers, US Cellular and Verizon, have always opposed such a directory, and Alltel and Sprint PCS have since pulled away from the project (mostly due to bad press and government regulation).

FTC article: The Truth about Cell Phones and the National Do Not Call Registry

Snopes article: Celling your soul