Tags: FTC | Proposes | National | 'Do | Not | Call' | List

FTC Proposes National 'Do Not Call' List

Wednesday, 23 January 2002 12:00 AM

The FTC intends to create a national "Do Not Call" list that would enable consumers to remove their names from marketing lists by making one call to the government.

The proposal would bar telemarketers from calling at odd hours, harassing consumers, and failing to disclose the caller's identity and purpose of the call.

Currently, consumers can only stop telemarketing calls by notifying each company separately or relying on a voluntary system used by the Direct Marketing Association.

The New York-based trade group said 4.1 million people have signed its national "do not call" list over the past 17 years.

"Under the FTC's proposal, it would be illegal for telemarketers to call consumers who place their phone number on the national registry," said Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Beales added "consumers need to understand that this is a proposal. If adopted it will be a while before the national 'Do Not Call' registry can become a reality."

He said the list would make it easier for investigators to follow up on consumer complaints of telemarketers who call anyway. Firms can be fined up to $11,000 per violation.

In addition, the FTC seeks to prohibit telemarketers from swapping consumer's billing information with each other. The proposed rule would also prohibit telemarketing firms from "blocking or subverting" their number on a consumer's caller-ID equipment.

Telemarketers would also have to update their no-call lists monthly from the national list, which would cost the agency between $4 million and $6 million in the first year.

And for the first time, the rule will cover calls made to solicit charitable contributions.

The Direct Marketing Association, a trade group representing 5,000 members, described the proposal as an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars to limit communications and commerce. It said the proposal could impact more than six million jobs and $668 billion in U.S. sales.

"The telemarketing sector is an essential part of our communications and marketing industry," said H. Robert Wientzen, Direct Marketing's president and chief executive officer.

Wientzen said, "The government may be overstepping its boundaries by spending taxpayer dollars to limit communication -- that is protected by the first amendment -- to American consumers who benefit and shop via telephone solicitations."

Beales said the national registry would apply to companies that aren't part of the association.

The plan, which will amend the Telemarketing Sales Rule, will be subject to public comment until March 29. The FTC plans to hold public hearings in June on the registry and other proposed telemarketing regulations.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The FTC intends to create a national Do Not Call list that would enable consumers to remove their names from marketing lists by making one call to the government. The proposal would bar telemarketers from calling at odd hours, harassing consumers, and failing to...
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2002-00-23
Wednesday, 23 January 2002 12:00 AM
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