Consumer Protection Fact Sheet - Do Not Call Consumer FAQ

What is the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry?

The Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry gives you an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls you receive. Once you register your home or cell phone number, telemarketers covered by the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the date you register to stop calling you.

Any business – whether located inside or outside of Wisconsin – soliciting Wisconsin residents by telephone call or text message, must obtain a copy of the registry and delete the consumers’ names from its own calling list.

The law also prohibits businesses from intentionally blocking the Caller ID feature on your telephone.

Who manages the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry?

The Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry is managed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency.

How do I sign up for the list?

You may sign up for the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry one of two ways:

  1. By calling toll-free: 1-888-382-1222

    You can register only one home or cell phone number each time you call the Do Not Call Registry, and you must call from the phone number you wish to register.

  2. Online at: www.donotcall.gov.

    You may register up to three home or cell phone numbers at one time on the Do Not Call Registry website. The online registration process requires an active email address. You will receive a separate confirmation email for each number you wish to register online. You must open each email and click on the link in each email within 72 hours to complete the registration process. If you have more than three telephone numbers, you will have to go through the registration process more than once to register all your numbers. There is a limit on the number of phone numbers you can register in this manner.

How much does it cost to join the list?

There is no charge to register for the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry.

How can I verify my number is on the registry?

To verify that your number is on the registry, go to www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). When you register, telemarketers will have 31 days to take your number off their call lists.

How long does my number stay registered?

Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when the consumer chooses to remove a number from the registry.

What if I move or my number is disconnected?

If you move and get a new number, you need to register the new number.

You do not need to take your old phone number off the list when you get a new number. You can if you would like to, but the system will automatically remove most numbers that are disconnected and reassigned.

If your phone number is disconnected and then reconnected you may need to re-register. In addition, there are actions that you or your telephone company might take that could cause your registered phone number to become unregistered – even if your service has not been interrupted (such as changing calling plans or other services, or changing the billing name on the account.)

To verify that your number is in the Registry, go to www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). Each time you re-register, telemarketers will have 31 days to take your number off their call lists.

What if I change my mind and want to take my number off the registry?

You can delete your phone number only by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number you want to delete. After you contact the registry to delete the number, it will be removed from the Do Not Call Registry by the next day. But telemarketers have up to 31 days to access information about your deletion and add your number back to their call lists, if they choose to.

I received a phone call for someone offering to put my name on the Do Not Call Registry. Should I let them?

No. Private companies or other such third parties are not allowed to register consumers for the Do Not Call Registry. Websites or phone solicitations that claim they can or will register a consumer’s name or phone number on the registry – especially those that charge a fee – are almost certainly a scam. Consumers may register directly but never through private companies. For consumers, the registry is a free service.

Only you should register your telephone numbers.

Does the Do Not Call Registry stop all telemarketing calls?

The Do Not Call Registry should stop MOST telemarketing calls and text messages but there are exceptions for:

  1. Contacts made to an existing customer – for example, calls from your insurance agent or your phone company. However, businesses are allowed one telephone call or text message to determine whether a former client mistakenly allowed a contract to lapse. Businesses are also allowed to make one contact to determine a former client’s level of satisfaction, unless the call is part of a plan or scheme to encourage the former client to purchase property, goods or services.

  2. A call or text made in response to your written or verbal request or permission.

  3. A call or text encouraging you to make a donation of property, goods or services to a “nonprofit organization.”

  4. A call or text encouraging you to purchase property, goods or services from a “nonprofit organization” unless sale proceeds are subject to Wisconsin sales tax or federal income tax.

  5. A call or text made for non-commercial purposes such as polls, surveys and political purposes.

  6. A call or text made to a business telephone number.

  7. A call or text made by an individual acting on his or her own behalf, and not as an employee or agent for any other person.

  8. A call or text made by a collection agency.

IMPORTANT: Even if a call or text is exempt from this law, you can still stop many of these contacts just by telling them to not contact you again. Federal law requires each and every business to place your name on their internal “no call” list, if you request it.

Can I register my business/office phone number or a fax number?

No. The law excludes businesses and business telephone numbers. The Do Not Call Registry is only for personal home or cell phone numbers

What about my home business phone?

No. Any phone that is a business phone is not eligible to be on the Do Not Call Registry. If your home office phone is also your residential line, then it is eligible to be included on the registry.

Who enforces the Do Not Call Registry?

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is the agency responsible for investigating violations of the Wisconsin telephone solicitation laws.

DATCP will contact the offending business, making them aware of the Do Not Call Registry. After a reasonable amount of time to comply, if we receive subsequent complaints about the same business, we may pursue court action and monetary penalties.

DATCP can be reached at 1-800-422-7128, (608) 224-4999 or by e-mail to: DATCPWiNoCall@wi.gov

What are the penalties if a telemarketer calls or texts me after my name has been added to the list?

Telemarketers who call or text someone on the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry can be subject to a $100 forfeiture per violation.

What should I do if I get a telemarketing call or text message after I have registered to be on the list?

  1. If you have Caller ID, write down the phone number from which they are calling or texting. It is illegal for a telemarketer to block Caller ID.

  2. Get the name of the company for which the telemarketer works. Often companies will contract with telemarketing companies to market their services for them. Make sure you get the name of the telemarketing company as well as the company for which they are selling. All telemarketers are required to state their name and their company’s name at the beginning of the call. If you did not hear it, ask them to repeat it.

  3. Ask the telemarketer for their Wisconsin telephone solicitor registration number.

  4. Try to get their manager’s phone number and an address for the telemarketing firm. Make sure you note the date and time the call was made. Then fill out a No Call Complaint questionnaire.

  5. Remember you are not automatically added to the registry the day you sign up. After you register, your phone number will show up on the registry by the next day. Telemarketers have up to 31 days to get your phone number and remove it from their call lists.

Does the Do Not Call Registry stop faxes from telemarketers?

No. The law only covers “voice communications” and text messages.

Does the Do Not Call Registry stop those pre-recorded messages from telemarketers?

Yes, as long as they are not from one of the exempt groups. However, if you are a customer of a business, they may not use pre-recorded messages to contact you.

Can telemarketers or anyone else use the registry to make sales calls? Will the registry be given out for any other purpose?

No. The law very clearly states that any other use of the list is illegal. The list is not subject to an “Open Records” request, unlike most other state documents. If it is discovered that the list is being used for any other purpose, DATCP will prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

Do I need Caller ID to make the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry work?

No. You are not required to have a Caller ID service to receive the benefits of the Do Not Call Registry.

The registry works independently of any Caller ID service you may have. Instead of blocking incoming calls, the list requires telemarketers to take people who have signed up for the Do Not Call Registry off their marketing or calling lists, with some exceptions.

What is the difference between the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry and the Direct Marketing Association’s “Do Not Call” list?

The Direct Marketing Association’s list is a nationwide, voluntary list that telemarketers may obtain to avoid calling people who do not wish to receive calls. The Direct Marketing list carries no penalties for calling people on that list, and is not enforceable by any Wisconsin or federal agency. The Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry is an enforceable mandate by the Wisconsin Legislature to provide protection for those individuals who want to limit telemarketing calls to their residential home or cell phone number(s).

How do I file a do not call complaint?

File a complaint online on the DATCP website, download a complaint form and submit it to DATCP, or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection to request a form:

Bureau of Consumer Protection
2811 Agriculture Drive
PO Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911

DATCPWiNoCall@wi.gov

(800) 422-7128
(608) 224-4999
(608) 224-4677  FAX
(608) 224-5058  TTY