The National Do Not Call Registry was originally set up with a 5-year time limit. After registering your telephone number with the registry, no one was allowed to call that number for 5 years. At the end of the registration period, the do-not-call limitation expired. The reason for having this time limit is because ownership of telephone numbers is not constant, and most people move at least once every 5 years.
The Do-Not-Call Improvement Act (2007) removed that time limit completely. All Do-Not-Call registrations which have been made after 2008 do not expire. However, the database is still set up to remove telephone numbers which have been disconnected and reassigned from the registry.
How to register
You can register your telephone number with the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222. This call must be made from the telephone number you wish to register. You can also register online.
You can only register residential telephone numbers, not business telephone lines. You should register your cell phone number, because cell phones are not covered by the National Do Not Call Registry. There is no need. It is illegal to use an automated dialer to telemarket to cell phones. However, some states also have state laws which allow cell phone registration on local Do Not Call lists.
Registration does not electronically block telemarketing companies from calling your telephone number. Instead, your telephone number is added to the Do Not Call list which all telemarketers are required to search at least once every 31 days. At that point, the telemarketers update their own calling lists and remove any new telephone numbers which have been added to the Do Not Call list.
This is why the effects of registering your telephone number with the National Do Not Call Registry are not immediate. Telemarketers are given 31 days from your date of registration to stop calling your number.
Who is not covered by the Do Not Call legislation?
Political organizations and not-for-profit organizations may continue to call telephone numbers which have been registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. This includes all polling and surveying.
A business may continue to call a previous customer for up to 18 months from their last commercial transaction with that business. The company must cease calling if the former customer specifically asks them not to call.
Collection agencies and creditors are not covered under the Do Not Call regulations. They are governed by separate legislation.