FEDMA Fears European Do-Not-Call Scheme

16 December 2003

FEDMA (Federation of European Direct Marketing) is looking at ways to prevent the adoption of a US-style do-not-call register in Europe.

The trade body's council for contact centres and teleservices met last week to agree an action plan to combat "the recent global issues which pose new challenges to the sector."

The stateside scheme was launched over the summer and came into force in October. Over 50 million numbers have already been added to the register, against which telemarketers must check their calling lists every three months. Each call to a registered number incurs a fine of up to $11,000 (€8,949; £6,296).

US marketers have been hit hard by the new scheme. Charles Prescott, senior vp of America's Direct Marketing Association, says the call centre business is "in deep crisis" as a result.

The FEDMA council fears similar registers may crop up in Europe, and last week also discussed the growth of the Telephone Preference Service opt-out scheme in the UK.

"There is a clear and present threat that the US example will encourage similar regulation in Europe," declared FEDMA director general Alastair Tempest.

"We have agreed to review our 1997 teleservices guidelines; study how to deal with problems with predictive diallers; and, most importantly, provide a platform for all the players including call centres to debate and find proactive solutions to prevent restrictions being adopted in Europe."

The council will meet again early in the new year.

Data sourced from: FEDMA; additional content by WARC staff