Don’t register your cell phone for the No Call List

    One of the best bills approved by the state Legislature in recent years was the creation of the Wisconsin No Call List.

    About 1 million Wisconsin residential telephone numbers have been added to the list since its inception in 2003 to help block telemarketers from interrupting people at home.

    The state Senate has approved a bill to expand this popular, free service. Senate Bill 99 (SB 99) expands the No Call List to include cell phone numbers. SB 99 also allows a small business to request that a land line or cell phone number be included on the No Call List that is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

    More and more consumers are using cell phones as opposed to land lines. Consumers that exclusively use cell phones will now be afforded the same opportunity to request privacy from telemarketers.

    Also under SB 99, a telemarketer is prohibited from calling a customer who has verbally informed the telemarketer that the customer does not want to receive telephone solicitations.

    Penalties for violators would increase from the current forfeiture of $100. SB 99 increases the forfeiture for violators to not less than $1,000 or more than $10,000.

    I expect the state Assembly to approve SB 99 and the governor to sign the bill into law. SB 99 would become law five business days after the governor signs the legislation. Until then, only residential land line phone numbers can be registered on the Wisconsin No Call List.

    While SB 99, if signed into law, will give cell phone users the option of registering their cell phone numbers, I urge thoughtful consideration.

    Federal law prohibits telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phones. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises that you may put your personal cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, and now you may soon have the option to place your cell phone number on Wisconsin’s No Call List. However, there is generally not a reason to do so.

    Registering your cell phone is unnecessary and a very bad idea. Cell phone numbers are unpublished. If you provide your cell phone number to the national do not call list, suddenly, it becomes a published number. The lists of numbers must be purchased by telemarketers so they can comply with the do not call registry. It would be extremely easy for unscrupulous entities and foreign, international entities to get their hands on the numbers. Your best bet is to avoid registering your cell phone.

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a news release stating: "Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent. The national associations representing telemarketers have stated that their clients do not intend to start calling consumers’ cell phones.”

    I do suggest registering your residential land line number on Wisconsin’s No Call List.

    There are two ways to sign up for the Wisconsin No Call List. You can sign up over the phone by calling 1-866-9NOCALL (1-866-966-2255), toll-free in Wisconsin. You can sign up at the Wisconsin No Call List website at: https://nocall.wisconsin.gov/web/registration.asp.

    Only one adult in each household needs to register. There is not a charge to register for the Wisconsin No Call List.

    State Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) can be reached at Sen.Lazich@legis.wi.gov.

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