Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
No Call No Good? . . .
Quoting from the Associated Press (July 29,2003 Washington), "The FTC launched the the Federal Government's Do-Not-Call Registry shortly after midnight Friday and the public response was strong, with the Web site initially logging about 1,000 hits per second. Americans continue to flock to the Web Site to register their phone numbers as they rush to have unwanted telemarketing calls blocked beginning Oct. 1. The commission expects up to 60 million phone numbers to be registered in the first year.
Consumers who register their numbers by Aug. 31 will be on the first list that telemarketers will be required to start using October 1. After October 1, telemarketers who illegally call consumers on the list could be fined up to $11,000. They have to check the government's do-not-call list every three months to update their own lists."
I was one of those initial consumers who flocked to the Federal Do-Not-Call Web Site but I think this registry will have little effect reducing the number of annoying telemarketing calls I receive. There are just too many loopholes in the law to be effective. Businesses that are exempt from the national registry can still call me even though my phone numbers are on the No-Call List. Exempt businesses include: long-distance phone companies, airlines, banks, credit unions, insurance companies, political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors, or "companies with which there is an existing business relationship".
The majority of the telemarketing calls I receive are for credit cards (banks are exempt businesses), low cost telephone rates (long-distance phone companies are exempt businesses) and charity solicitation. This law will NOT prohibit any of these annoying calls.
What seems to be an even bigger loophole is the clause that allows telemarketing by "companies with which there is an existing business relationship".
OK . . . Last week, I bought a pair of boots at Sears. In my case, Sears is now eternally exempt from the telemarketing ban because there is an "existing business relationship": my new boots. The same logic applies to every company with whom I do business: from the gas station on the corner, to appliance companies, electronics companies, window companies, carpet companies, right down to to the folks who processed the canned corn sitting on the pantry shelf. They are all companies with which I have an "existing business relationship".
This looks like another case of lawmaking that started out to address a valid consumer complaint but was watered down to appease some well-financed lobbyists. I suspect the Federal "Do Not Call Web site, http://www.donotcall.gov will only manage to spend more of my tax dollars while I will be left to manage even more annoying telemarketing calls.
Sorry . . . I have to run; the phone is ringing . . .