Cell Phone Directories

Are you concerned that your cell phone number will be shared with telemarketers?  Have you received an e-mail like this one?

JUST A REMINDER...6 days from today, all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies, and you will start to receive sales calls. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS....To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222.   This is the National DO NOT CALL List. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.  HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS….

There are several e-mails circulating that are similar to the one above, claiming that your cell phone number is about to be released to telemarketing companies, thereby exposing you to per-minute charges for unwanted sales solicitations.  The message encourages you to list your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.   But how true is it?

Here are the facts:

  • The Wireless Privacy Act was passed in 2005 to protect your cell phone number from being released without your consent.  This law provides that a wireless service provider must first obtain the express consent of Georgia consumers before their names and numbers can be included in any directory or directory database.   The form used for obtaining your express consent must also meet certain requirements, such as being signed and dated.   It must state that the consumer, by signing the form, is consenting to have his or her cell phone number sold or licensed as part of a list.
The legislation gives Georgians who do give express prior consent the ability to revoke that consent at any time. The service provider must comply with that request within a reasonable time period, and not more than 60 days. The legislation also prohibits charging consumers for electing not to be included in the directory.
  • The cell phone industry considered at one point the creation of a nationwide “Wireless 411 Directory,” to be rolled out in late 2005 or early 2006.   Cell phone customers reacted negatively to the idea of this directory, and its implementation is now far from certain. 
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued rules that prohibit telemarketers from using auto-dialers to call cell phones.  Since most telemarketers today use auto-dialers, the FCC rules effectively bar these companies from calling consumers on their cell phones.
  • The federal government does not maintain a separate cell phone directory.  As a consumer, you can add your personal land line telephone number—and your cell phone number—to the National Do Not Call Registry, at no charge, by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register.  There is a 31-day lag time before the registration of the telephone number goes into effect, after which it remains registered for five years.  The National Do Not Call Registry is for personal phone numbers only; business telephone lines and fax numbers are not covered.