Unsolicited Marketing Calls to Cell Phones Are Illegal: With or Without a Cell Phone Directory
January 25, 2006 – The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is warning consumers, legislators, and regulators about the re-emergence of bogus e-mails that are causing anxiety about new proposed cell phone number directories. An urban myth has resurfaced in recent days claiming that proposed directories of cell phone numbers are being compiled for use by telemarketers.
Although there may be efforts to compile cell phone directories by phone companies, such directories may not be used for unsolicited telephone marketing calls, according to a 1991 federal law. The 1991 Telemarketing Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) makes it illegal for solicitation calls to be made to wireless phone numbers without clear permission from the individual to whom a number has been assigned.
The Federal Trade Commission issued its own release on this latest cell phone marketing myth, reiterating that "despite the claims made in e-mails circulating on the Internet, consumers should not be concerned that their cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketers in the near future, and that it is not necessary to register cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry to be protected from most telemarketing calls to cell phones." The FTC release is available online at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/01/dnccellphones.htm.
The DMA and its members continue to support vigorous enforcement of the absolute restriction on unsolicited calls to cell phone numbers for marketing purposes and urge federal and state authorities to prosecute those who may engage in this illegal activity. Moreover, DMA continues to work aggressively with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect against cell phone solicitations by ensuring that marketers understand and comply fully with the law.
To help our members prevent even inadvertent unsolicited telemarketing calls to cell phones, DMA offers the following:
· The Wireless Block Identifier Service identifies for the marketing community those numbers that have been assigned as cell phone numbers - numbers they may not call without express permission from the holder of a number.
· The Wireless Ported Number File identifies land-based phone numbers that have been ported to cell phone numbers - new numbers that also fall under the protections of the 1991 law.
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