A National Do Not Call Registry has been implemented in the United States and other countries, as a tool for consumers to be able to reduce the number of phone calls they receive from salesmen and telemarketers. In the U.S., the registry was established by a national law, named the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003. Adding one's phone number to the list should prevent all telemarketing calls, but even if a person's number is not registered, he can still limit the sales calls he receives by requesting each company to put his number on their particular do-not-call list.
Originally, telemarketing companies had 90 days to stop calling a phone number, once it was placed in the National Do Not Call Registry. This was later reduced to just 30 days. In the U.S., only landlines are allowed to be called by telemarketers. Beginning in 2005, a rumor began to circulate via email that this was not the case, that telemarketers could in fact call cellular phones, or that they would be able to beginning at some future point. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has since debunked this rumor in an official statement. In addition to cell phone numbers, fax numbers do not need to be included in the registry, due to laws already on the books that prohibit the sending of faxes that are unsolicited.
Not all unsolicited telephone calls are prohibited by the U.S. government. The law does not stop those callers who, for instance, are conducting surveys. Calls from charitable and political organizations are also still allowed. Calls from bill collectors are also unaffected, but these are governed by a different set of laws, established prior to the do-not-call legislation. Business telephone lines are also unaffected, in the sense that they may still be called by telemarketers, because most laws restricting these calls apply only to residential lines.
Despite the laws in place, there is a likelihood that most consumers will still receive the occasional unsolicited telemarketing call, whether by mistake or not. Some companies have made attempts to find loopholes or take advantage of technicalities to get around the laws. As honest companies update their do-not-call lists, unsolicited sales calls will likely happen less and less. This is because the law states that a person only needs to register his number once, and it will remain in the National Do Not Call Registry permanently.