Telemarketing ‘Do Not Call’ Scheme Passes First Deadline

02 September 2003

Sunday August 31 was the registration deadline for those members of the US public who don’t want to receive unsolicited calls from telemarketers after the ‘do-not-call’ rules take effect on October 1.

Although still able to register their numbers whenever they wish, consumers could be subject to unwanted sales calls for up to three months beyond the law’s launch, as telemarketers are required to update their call databases only on a quarterly basis.

For consumers registering in September there will be insufficient time to process requests before D-day warns Dane Snowden, Federal Communications Commission consumer and government affairs bureau chief. The ‘don’t call’ list is expected to have risen to around sixty million phone numbers by the year end.

And by January 1, another restriction will hit the telemarketing community. Such calls as are legally made must carry a name and phone number that will display on the recipient’s caller-ID facility. At the moment, such calls usually show simply as ‘out of area’.

The FCC calculates that the list will block about 80% of telemarketing calls. However, charities, pollsters and political campaigns are exempt. In addition, a company may call a person if he or she has bought, leased or rented from the firm in the previous eighteen months or has inquired about or applied for something during the preceding three months.

Meantime, the telemarketing industry is fighting back. It has successfully challenged the recently announced FCC rule that requires marketers to obtain written permission before sending unsolicited faxes. Last month the FCC agreed to postpone the rule until January 1, 2005 [WAMN: 20-Aug-03].

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff