DNC Organization Definition?
Registering and Subscribing to the Registry
When registering, you will be asked to select from three Organization Functions. What are these functions and which one should you select?
The three organization functions are Seller, Telemarketer/Service Provider, or Exempt Organization. Seller: includes any person or business who, in connection with a telemarketing transaction, provides, offers to provide, or arranges for others to provide goods or services to the customer in exchange for consideration. A Seller also may be a Telemarketer, if it is calling on its own behalf, or if it retains one or more Telemarketers to place calls for it. In either case, you should register as a “Seller”.
Every Seller should subscribe to area codes, pay the appropriate fee, and agree to the certification requirements to receive a Subscription Account Number (SAN) with the National Do Not Call Registry. A Seller may direct a Telemarketer to complete the online subscription process for it, but the Seller must have its own subscription and SAN, separate from the Telemarketer's subscription and SAN.
Telemarketers / Service Providers
Telemarketer (TM): includes any person or business who, in connection with telemarketing, initiates or receives telephone calls to or from a customer.
- If a Telemarketer is accessing the registry through a Seller’s account, (the Seller by definition is the Telemarketer’s Client) the Seller must have its own subscription with the Registry. The Telemarketer may access the Registry on behalf of the Seller at no additional charge if the Telemarketer is authorized by the Seller to use the Seller’s SAN. Any applicable fees should be paid by the Seller, or by the Telemarketer on that Seller's behalf. The Telemarketer may use the data it downloads only for that Seller. Telemarketers should understand that every Seller must have its own subscription to the Registry. At the direction of a Seller, a Telemarketer may complete the online subscription process and obtain a SAN for the Seller.
- If a Telemarketer accesses the registry on its own behalf as well as accessing the registry through a client’s account, it may obtain its own SAN by subscribing to area codes for itself and paying its own access fee and agreeing to the certification requirements. However, a Telemarketer may not use Registry data to place calls on behalf of more than one Seller unless each Seller has its own subscription and a SAN. That is, a Telemarketer cannot purchase the list once and then provide the data to all of its Clients who have not paid the appropriate fees to access the Registry.
Service Provider (SP): includes any person or business that provides assistance to sellers or telemarketers to engage in telemarketing, such as list brokers and service bureaus.
- If a Service Provider accesses the registry through a client’s account, the client must have its own subscription with the Registry. The Service Provider may access the Registry on behalf of the client at no additional charge if the Service Provider is authorized by the client to use the client’s SAN. Any applicable fees should be paid by the client, or by the Service Provider on that client's behalf. The Service Provider may use the data it downloads only for that client. Service Providers should understand that every client must have its own subscription to the Registry. At the direction of a client, a Service Provider may complete the online subscription process and obtain a SAN for the client.
- If a Service Provider accesses the registry on its own behalf as well as accessing the registry through a client’s account, it may obtain its own SAN by subscribing to area codes for itself and paying its own access fee and agreeing to the certification requirements. However, a Service Provider may not use Registry data to place calls on behalf of more than one Seller unless each Seller has its own subscription and a SAN. That is, a Service Provider cannot purchase the list once and then provide the data to all of its Clients who have not paid the appropriate fees to access the Registry.
In general, your organization may access as an Exempt Organization if it is not required to access the National Do Not Call Registry because either (1) it is a nonprofit organization; or (2) an organization that only makes telephone calls that are in one or more of the categories described below.
The determination of whether your organization is exempt may require careful assessment of your specific business practices. Therefore, in making this decision, you may wish to consult with an attorney.
If you are not an Exempt Organization and you have nevertheless subscribed to the registry as an Exempt Organization, you may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties. If you subscribed as an Exempt Organization by mistake, and wish to withdraw your subscription, please contact the HELPDESK at telemarketing.donotcall.gov.
Nonprofit Organizations - To qualify for this type of exemption, an organization must be truly nonprofit B. That is, it must not be organized to conduct business for its own profit or the profit of its members. Please note that an organization that has been incorporated as a nonprofit or recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt is not necessarily an Exempt Organization for purposes of the National Do Not Call Registry. The FTC has successfully charged that an organization that purports to be a nonprofit is not exempt if the organization is, in fact, operated for the profit of its members, officer, or affiliated for-profit companies. For example, review FTC v. National Consumer Council, Inc., and FTC v. Debt Management Foundation Services, Inc. Organizations That Only Make Telephone Calls That Fall Within Exempt Categories
A for-profit organization may register as an exempt organization if ALL of the telephone calls that it makes fall within one or more of these categories:
- Informational messages: The Telemarketing Sales Rule applies to calls that are made as part of “a plan, program, or campaign which is conducted to induce the purchase of goods or services . . . .” The Rule does not apply to calls to deliver purely informational messages that are not delivered to induce purchases. For example, a message from an airline that contains only information about a flight cancellation is an informational message. However, telephone calls that combine information with a direct or indirect solicitation for goods or services are not exempt, and a for-profit organization that makes such calls is not an exempt organization.
- Surveys or political polls: If calls are being made for the sole purpose of conducting a survey or poll, they are exempt. But purported survey calls are not exempt if they are also part of a plan, program or campaign to induce purchases of goods or services. Organizations placing such telemarketing calls must comply with the Do Not Call provisions and are not Exempt Organizations.
- Promoting a political party or candidate: If calls are being made solely for a political purpose and are not part of a plan, program or campaign to induce purchases of goods or services, the calls are exempt.
- Business-to-Business Calls: Most phone calls to a business made with the intent to solicit sales from that business are exempt from the Do Not Call provisions.
- Solicitations for charitable contributions: Calls that solicit a contribution, donation or gift of money or other thing of value are exempt from the National Do Not Call Registry requirements even if the calls are made by a for-profit organization. (Nevertheless, for-profit organizations soliciting contributions must honor call recipients’ request to be placed on an entity-specific do not call list.)
- Calls to consumers who have an Established Business Relationship with the organization on whose behalf the call is made: Sellers and telemarketers may call a consumer whose number is on the National Do Not Call Registry if the seller on whose behalf the call is made has an established business relationship with the consumer—provided the consumer has not asked to be on the seller’s entity-specific do not call list. There are two kinds of established business relationships. One is based on the consumer’s purchase, rental, or lease of the seller’s goods or services, or a financial transaction between the consumer and seller, within 18 months preceding a telemarketing call. The 18-month period runs from the date of the last payment, transaction, or shipment between the consumer and the seller. The other is based on a consumer’s inquiry or application regarding a seller’s goods or services, and exists for three months starting from the date the consumer makes the inquiry or application.
- Calls to consumers who have given their written permission to receive telemarketing calls: Sellers and telemarketers are allowed to call any consumer who has given his or her express agreement to receive calls, even if the consumer’s number is in the National Do Not Call Registry. The consumer must give express agreement in writing to receive calls placed by—or on behalf of—the seller, including the number to which calls may be made, and the consumer’s signature. The signature may be a valid electronic signature, if the agreement is reached online. For more information, please see the Exemptions to the National Do Not Call Registry Provisions section of Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Whether your organization is exempt is a determination that requires consideration of not only the FTC’s regulations, but also regulations enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For more information about the FCCs regulations, see the FCC’s website
Exempt Organizations that apply to the National Do Not Call Registry must wait three business days before beginning to download the telephone numbers to which they have subscribed. The chart below outlines how the waiting period works. The timing of the waiting periods depends on when you create your profile.
The waiting period will begin on the NEXT business day after you complete your profile. You will not necessarily by contacted when during or at the end of the waiting period, however if you are contacted and you do not respond adequately, you will be blocked from accessing the Registry. Whether you are contacted or not, it is up to you to ensure that you are complying with the rules.
Return to Federal Do Not Call Information Page