US Telemarketers Buy More Time From FTC

18 March 2003

The US telemarketing industry, still in shock from the recent decision by Congress to empower the Federal Trade Commission to impose a national ‘do not call’ list, has managed to persuade the FTC to delay the introduction of restrictions on so-called predictive call dialling.

Although the delay will not affect the implementation of the new bill by March 31, it gives additional breathing space to marketers who mistakenly call too many people at the same time via predictive dialling systems, leaving uneasy recipients with a silent phone clamped to their ears.

The FTC rules require that in such cases telemarketers provide a voice mail message for these dropped calls, giving the name of the caller and a phone number.

Following representations from the Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association, the FTC has accepted that there is insufficient time to implement the technological changes and postponed the requirement to October 1. Meantime, the percentage of ‘silent calls’ must be restricted to no more than 3% of all calls made.

The two trade bodies are also seeking temporary injunctions against the March 31 changes and intend to challenge the bill in its entirety on grounds that it is unconstitutional.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff