Sixty-Two Million Register for US 'Don't Call' List

25 June 2004

Despite setting up shop only a year ago, the Federal Trade Commission's anti-telemarketing registry has been inundated with consumers logging their details to avoid telemarketing calls.

The list has now swollen to over 62 million telephone numbers, the vast majority (87%) of which now receive an average of six marketing calls a month compared with thirty before the creation of the registry.

However, 428,000 complaints have been filed against more than 130,000 companies which failed to comply with rules by targeting numbers on the do not call list. The fine of $11,000 (€9,100; £6,100) for doing so appears not to deter as two hundred companies have each attracted over 100 complaints.

This may be because the FTC has only acted against one repeat offender to date – a credit-repair firm attempting to bend the rules by portraying itself as a nonprofit debt negotiation company.

However, most telemarketing companies are abiding by the regulations … and suffering the consequences. H Robert Wientzen, president of the Direct Marketing Association acting on behalf of firms manufacturing the goods sold by telemarketers, has seen a "loss of jobs and some companies closing."

Wientzen calls for tougher action against repeat offenders who are "taking advantage of the fact that everyone is complying and they want to get out there and beat the prosecution."

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff