Smart Calling May Be Long-Term Answer for Telemarketers (539 wd
By Paul Barbagallo, assistant editor, Target Marketing & Inside Direct Mail
Legislation establishing state-maintained telemarketing do-not-call lists has been introduced in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington State. If enacted, these states will join 25 others already maintaining their own lists. These bills follow the heavily debated do-not-call registry in California, a state so innundated with evening phone solicitations that the measure gained snowball-like momentum as it rolled to the Capitol.
Senate Bill (SB) 771 eventually passed, enabling Californians for sign up for the registry beginning in January 2003. Under the program, California consumers will be able to place their phone number on the state's "do-not-call" list for three years for a fee of $1.
But businesses at first opposed the legislation, largely on the grounds that it would cut off what has proved a successful marketing avenue. Then Assembly Republican Leader Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks), said federal law already restricts telemarketers from making unwanted phone calls to consumers. He criticized SB 771 as government overregulation of business.
"Every day, this Legislature continues to move us toward less personal responsibility," Cox told the Sacramento Bee in September 2001. "The government is in fact our nanny."
That brings us to the present. Marketers now are responding to the Federal Trade Commission's proposal for a national telmemarketing do-not-call list announced January 22. The proposal would ultimately modify the Telemarketing Sales Rule, which prohibits deceptive sales calls.
In an apparent response to the proposal, The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) created a teleservices ethics committee, which would "serve as an industry watchdog" while enforcing its telemarketing rules. The American Teleservices Association (ATA) reacted similarly, saying that the FTC is adding complications to an already confusing situation.
"It seems...that the FTC's solution to some of the problems is to add more legal requirements, instead of enforcing those already in effect," said Matt Mattingley, the ATA's director of government affairs, in a statement.