In 1991, there were two different statutes created by the U.S. Congress to protect and prevent residential telephone subscribers from a violation of privacy by telemarketers. Telemarketing companies had been increasingly bold about calling households at all hours of the day and night since the telephone's expanded published phone numbers in the early 1960s.
The first statute is referred to as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and placed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in charge of creating rules to regulate and govern the purpose of the Act to protect citizen's privacy rights. The FCC was ordered to establish a national database where phone numbers of individuals wishing to opt out of being solicited by phone was put into place. The initial enactment of this law required telemarketing companies to provide a list of individuals that had contacted the business to be removed from their calling list and the requests were to be honored for ten years.
The second statute addressed deceptive acts of telemarketers in their attempt to secure a sale and is known as the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act and was to be set into force and regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Following the Act, the FTC amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule and added a section that imposed fees on telemarketers that violated the newly established Do-Not-Call Registry.
The National Do-Not-Call Registry had been proposed and enacted by Congress at the same time as both statutes but there were no penalties that kept telemarketers from breaking the law and very little enforcement of their actions. On April 3, 2003, the FTC released a revised proposal to charge telemarketers an annual fee of $7,250 to receive a list of subjects that had been placed on the national registry and it was accepted. The final rulemaking took place on June 26, 2003 and all arguments and revisions were finalized with the Do-Not-Call-Implementation Act.
Each state in the union has joined in with either the National Do-Not-Call Registry or has created a state program in state boundaries, beginning in 2003. There are two states to date, Wyoming and Maine that do not belong to either but maintain a state law that telephone solicitors can only call phone numbers that are provided by the Direct Marketing Association. Other states have exemptions to the Do-Not-Call (DNC) list for certain types of telemarketing. Some of these include newspaper telemarketing, public opinion poll calling or telemarketing on behalf of charitable organizations.
Other states have what is called "no rebuttal statutes". These types of laws require telemarketers to immediately end the call when the consumer tells them that they are not interested in the particular product or service being sold. This is where reverse phone lookup is worth using. Many times your own state will take action against a company sooner than the FCC or the FTC. Restriction of calling hours is another rule that is closely monitored by some individual states, usually between the hours of 8 AM and 9 PM in the recipient's time zone.
One example of how a state law can differ from that of just the national DNC law is with the state of Alaska. The Alaska Consumer Protection Unit is responsible for providing its citizens with a DNC list and goes one step further in how a sale is made to consumers over the phone. All telemarketing transactions must be executed and signed by the consumer in order to be binding and the consumer is also able to return the goods within a certain amount of time. These rights cannot be waived between the company and client.
As technology expands, so do the laws that need to be enacted against telemarketing companies. Many states are not waiting for the federal government to come up with new laws in order to protect their citizens.
Telemarketing auto dialer equipment delivers announcements when a phone is answered or placed on hold for a telemarketing agent to pick up. Each state may address these types of systems individually as to making no exceptions, exceptions for political surveys and messages or charitable organizations. It is always best to check with your individual state in regard to the state law before using reverse phone lookup to report a crime with a company's telemarketing auto dialer.
According to Manta, a website that provides information about telemarketing companies, 563 companies are in operation in the United States. Outsource call centers are increasing around the world that provide cheaper labor and less problems with unions and employee rights. You may find that when you answer your phone there is a foreign speaking individual on the other end named Bob. This call could very well be coming from an outsource call center located in a foreign country. Always use reverse phone lookup before reporting the caller and their company because there are many foreign individuals that work for companies in the U.S. that may be calling regarding an appointment or some other important matter.
No matter how hard the state and federal government try to protect your privacy they also have a duty to protect businesses from performing sales efforts. If you feel your privacy is being invaded time and time again, use reverse phone lookup to obtain all of the information necessary to begin the complaint process with your state, the FTC or the FCC.
*This is not intended to be a thorough explanation of the law, nor does it attempt to offer legal advice. If you intend to make full use of this law, you should first consult an attorney. However you choose to use this information is with your full responsibility and at your own risk.