Keen to start promoting your business through SMS? If you want to achieve the maximum possible reach, you need to understand the meaning of DND in text, social media, and other contexts. On top of that, we will talk about DND numbers and the issues that can arise from texting them for promotional purposes, along with the concept of explicit subscriber consent.

Read on to learn the full form of DND, its implication in various contexts, what a DND number is, why you need to regularly check your subscriber list for them, and how to carry out such checks.

What does DND mean in text or call?

In the context of texting, calling, or other digital communications, DND stands for Do Not Disturb. DND is a phone setting or "mode" that allows the user to turn off all kinds of notifications for a specified amount of time. So, if a person's phone is on DND and you call or text them, they won't get notified until DND mode ends and the phone switches back to its regular settings. Even push notifications don't go through during DND hours.

There can be several reasons why a person would want to pause notifications for a certain time. They might want to not be disturbed while they prepare for an important exam or attend a meeting. Or maybe they just want to spend some quality time with their family, away from the screen.

How to turn on DND mode on your phone

On an Android phone, you can turn on DND by tapping 'Settings' and then 'Notifications.' You will easily spot the 'Do not disturb' option. Tap it and then turn the toggle on. You can either set the number of hours after which you want the DND mode to turn off automatically or choose the 'Until I turn it off' option. (In some Android phones, you might find the 'Do not disturb' option under 'Settings' > 'Sounds and vibration.')

DND mode in a phone

The process is similar on iPhones. Just go to 'Settings', and then tap 'Focus.' When you tap 'Do not disturb,' you will be given the option to customise your DND settings further. Another faster way to turn on DND is to swipe down from your Home screen to open the Control Center and then tap 'Focus.'

There are options to allow certain notifications, such as those for incoming calls or texts from an emergency contact, to come through even while the do-not-disturb mode is on. You can add these important contacts to your exceptions. You can also allow certain apps to send notifications during DND. Settings can differ across various types of digital devices. But overall, the DND feature, as a whole, is available across both Android and iOS phones.

What are DND numbers in the context of business texting?

The meaning of DND in this context is the same: 'Do Not Disturb.' However, it can have much more serious implications because this is not on an individual level. These official DND lists are implemented on a much larger scale. Several countries around the world have DND registries in place with telecom operators to protect consumers from unsolicited phone calls and texts.

A DND phone number is one that's been added to one of these DND registers, also known as DNC or Do-Not-Call registries. Anyone can add their number to these lists for free if they want to avoid telemarketing calls and SMS messages.

Why you need to check for Do Not Disturb numbers

It's against the law for businesses to approach DND numbers for telemarketing purposes. For instance, if you want to send a new promotional campaign to an old customer who is now listed on the DND registry, you can face serious legal repercussions. This is why you must run a DND number check prior to calling or texting anyone to send marketing content.

It's also important to know this because even if your subscribers have opted in to receive SMS marketing, some may still be registered on a DND list. In this case, marketing texts are not guaranteed to get through to the recipient, and you could still be penalised.

Such subscribers will need to remove themselves from the DND list to ensure they can receive your text messages.

What happens if you send an SMS to a DND phone number?

Failure to comply with 'Do Not Disturb' regulations for promotional messages carries serious consequences.

In India, for instance, TRAI regulations state that such violations could result in the sender having their telephone connection disabled and personal details blacklisted for two years.

In the United States, the National Do Not Call Registry requires telemarketers to search the register at least every 31 days to refresh their databases and remove any new DND numbers from their SMS marketing subscriber lists.

Any person who receives telemarketing materials despite being registered can file a complaint, and violations can result in fines of up to $16,000 per incident. That penalty is hefty, but the National Do Not Call Registry does allow for inadvertent mistakes, provided you can prove that your company has adequate processes in place to verify the error and ensure it doesn't happen again.

We recommend that you read up on relevant regulations (applicable to where your subscribers are based) to understand what's needed to make your promotional SMS messages legal.

SMS compliance concept

Exceptions: When you can legally text DND numbers

Note that the rules around texting DND phone numbers relate to promotional SMS only. This means you can send transactional texts to numbers on DND lists.

A transactional SMS message is one that's essential to conducting business and improving the customer experience. For example, order confirmations, payment and appointment reminders, PIN code requests, or debt collection requests are all business-critical communications that a customer cannot miss.

Your organisation type may also affect whether you can legally send a marketing SMS to these numbers. For example, the National Do Not Call Registry doesn't cover SMSes or calls from charities and political organisations.

How to check for DND and non-DND numbers

So, we've established it's essential to check your subscribers' mobile numbers before sending out promotional SMS messages (and continue checking on an ongoing basis). Here's how to do that.

1. Determine which DND register applies

This means analysing your database and checking which country your subscribers or customers reside in.

2. Visit the relevant register

Depending on the registry, you may need to create an account and pay a fee to access the database. This is the case with the National Do Not Call Registry. Here are links to the main DND registries.

3. Look up numbers

Each registry will require you to download and screen DND files against your contact list. They'll also provide instructions on how often you need to do this. When you do identify that you're holding numbers registered as DND, you'll need to remove them from your list ASAP.

There are several other free websites online where you can check the DND status of individual numbers. However, we can't vouch for their credibility. Plus, if you have a large database of subscribers, it's simply not efficient to check numbers one by one.

How to de-register a DND number

De-registering a DND number is straightforward. It's typically a case of calling or emailing the registry in question. Here are some shortcuts below.

  • For the U.S. National Do Not Call Registry, call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to remove from the list.

  • To remove a phone number from the TPS, email

  • To de-register from the TRAI NDNC, text 'STOP' to 1909 or simply call 1909.

DND letters on a keyboard

Protect consumers – and your business

DND registries exist to protect consumers who have decided against receiving SMS marketing messages. They are convenient for customers who don't want to painstakingly unsubscribe from individual marketing campaigns. Your responsibility, as a business owner sending marketing texts, is to respect consumers making that choice and promptly remove all DND phone numbers from your subscriber list. This will shield you from heavy fines and establish a trustworthy and respectful image of your business.

Ready to start sending SMS campaigns with Messente? Get started quickly (and for free) by creating an account here.

Frequently asked questions about the Do-Not-Disturb feature

What does DND mean in Instagram?

On Instagram, DND is called Quiet Mode. To enable quiet mode on Instagram, open your profile, expand the hamburger menu, tap the 'Notifications' settings, and then toggle 'Quiet mode' on.

What does DND mean on Snapchat?

On Snapchat, most users interpret 'Do Not Disturb' in two ways. One is where a specific contact's call and text notifications can be muted. The other method refers to disabling all notifications for the app, for all contacts and actions. To do that on Android, go to your Snapchat profile, tap the settings gear, open 'Notifications', and untick the 'Enable notifications' checkbox at the top.

Do messages deliver on Do Not Disturb?

Yes, text messages are delivered when the recipient's phone is on DND. They just aren't immediately notified about the incoming texts. They discreetly drop into their SMS inbox.

Can I use my phone normally if I have DND mode on?

Yes, you can continue to use your phone, even if you've activated DND mode, without getting distracted by any incoming notifications.

Does DND show on iMessage?

Yes, iMessage allows you to let your contacts know that your phone is in DND mode so that they know not to expect a reply from you immediately or try to contact you repeatedly. Of course, you don't have to turn on this option if you don't want to show 'Do not disturb' in iMessage. You can make your choice in the 'Focus' menu within 'Settings,' where you can toggle the 'Share Focus Status' option on or off.