Lately I have received a
number of comments from readers questioning whether or not the
Wisconsin “Do Not Call” law applies to cell phones.
The readers said they had received unsolicited telemarketing
calls on their cell phones.
Consumer concerns appear to be
growing because of the national controversy that has arisen
over whether or not consumers’ personal cell phone numbers
should be included in a telephone directory. Some of the major
wireless cell phone providers have announced an intention to
establish a “411 directory” of customers’
cell phone numbers beginning later this year. However, Verizon
and U.S. Cellular, locally, have announced they will not participate
in this directory. The participating companies have said that
they will publish the numbers only after receiving their customers’
consent and will only make those numbers available to those
who dial directory assistance and pay a fee. In other words,
these companies argue that it would be too expensive for telemarketers
to obtain this information on individual consumers.
Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach
is concerned about the directory and notes the Wisconsin “Do
Not Call” law does not apply to cell phones. He is drafting
legislation that would include personal cell phone numbers within
the state law. Senator Erpenbach argues, “Wisconsin’s
No Call list is the toughest in the nation. Our penalties for
telemarketers who violate the provisions of the No Call list
are much stronger than those in the federal No Call list. While
the federal No Call list includes cell phones, the penalties
are not tough enough to discourage telemarketers from violating
the law. By including cell phones in Wisconsin’s law,
we ensure that all of our state’s citizens will have peace
at dinner time or anytime, whether they have a land line or
cell phone in their homes.”
Erpenbach notes the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) has been accepting personal cell phone numbers
for registration under the federal “Do Not Call”
law since June 2003. If you want to register a telephone number
on the National Do Not Call Registry, visit www.donotcall.gov
or call 1-888-382-1222. If you are registering a phone number
online, you will be asked to provide a valid e-mail address
so the FTC can send you confirmation of your registration. Please
note a registration is not complete until you click on the link
in the FTC’s e-mail to you. For consumers registering
by phone, you must call from the phone number you wish to register.
You can also file complaints at the above website or by calling
the toll-free number.
I will provide you with updates
as the state legislation moves forward.