Do Not Call (DNC) Lists for Business

I've been asked to discuss ways put a business number on a telemarketer's DNC list.

While there is no regulatory protection covering unsolicited B2B telemarketing , most reputable U.S. firms will add business phone numbers to their DNC lists if requested. To get on such a list, you'll need to find a number into the proper call center, or, failing that, someone in marketing who manages the call center contract. Since outsourcing is common, this may take some investigation. Working back from the outbound number, if you have a number from Caller ID, assume that there are multiple trunk lines identifying the caller. The numbers may or may not be contiguous. I've found that other people are very likely to have posted a complaint about the number and have discovered the firm behind the call -- so try your favorite search engine, and include the phone number in the search terms. Once you figure out the sponsoring caller, you may need to speak to an intermediate supervisor (It's not necessary to speak with the boss of the whole operation), since the call center rep is likely on a timer and may not be permitted to take out time, if they even have the capability / permissions, to add your number to the list.

In larger call centers, outbound calling is automated, and the numbers are compared to the DNC list by the autodial software. For full automated one-way (i.e., robot) telemarketing, widely used during political campaigns, the same process is involved, but there is obviously no way to pick up the phone and request to be put on the DNC list.

TIP The issue of trunk lines is important. If your organization has multiple inbound lines, you may need to request to have all of them individually added.

TIP Note that charities and nonprofits are exempt from DNC regulations, but they also will generally try to honor DNC lists -- if they are big enough to have sensible systems in place.

TIP In some organizations, the DNC list maintenance is semi-manual -- often there is less automation in the call center than one imagines. It could take more than one attempt to be placed successfully on the list.

TIP The phone number to successfully reach the call center may not be the same one that is provided in the Caller ID to your answering machine.

While practices may vary widely, most telemarketing firms are concerned about reputation and best practices. Because even the threat of federal or state fines can cause the loss of telemarketing firms' customers, and because state regulators tend not to be interested in the finer points of a defense ("We thought it was a business line"), telemarketing firms find it in their best interest to add your number to the DNC lists they manage.

DISCLAIMER My experience in these matters is based upon my work supporting DNC list management for a publicly held US company in the Northeast.

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