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FTC Moves Forward With National Do-Not-Call List 505

netringer writes "The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is proposing some new regulations creating a national 'Do Not Call' list to keep US phones from being rung by telemarketers. Telemarketers who call a number on the list could be fined up $11,000. The new FTC rules also require that telemarketers have Caller ID enabled and limit abandoned 'hang up' calls from predictive dialers. The new rules have some loopholes, allowing calls from charities and businesses that have somehow gotten your permission or have done business with you before. The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities."
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FTC Moves Forward With National Do-Not-Call List

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  • The answer? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Perhaps the guy who just asked slashdot has his answer.
  • Now (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    For a do not SPAM list. What a concept, out-in should be the defacto thing, never opt-out, it presupposed willingness to be harrassed.
    • Re:Now (Score:4, Funny)

      by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:21PM (#4918679) Homepage Journal
      "For a do not SPAM list. What a concept, out-in should be the defacto thing, never opt-out, it presupposed willingness to be harrassed. "

      I'd love that. I'd report my address as *@*.*
    • Re:Now (Score:3, Insightful)

      For a do not SPAM list. What a concept, out-in should be the defacto thing, never opt-out, it presupposed willingness to be harrassed.
      Unenforcible, and it would be a great source of e-mail addresses for spammers. Ironic, isn't it?
    • Naah... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:29PM (#4918777)
      You mean that the "remove me" link in spams isn't sufficient?
    • Re:Now (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bethenco ( 578272 ) <(bethenco) (at) (upl.cs.wisc.edu)> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:46PM (#4918945) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure I could support a legally enforced `do not spam' list. In fact, I have mixed feelings about the `do not telemarket' list, despite the fact that I hate telemarketers (AT&T has called me trying to sell long-distance service about five times in the past few days!).

      The issue of the government controlling use of technology is what gives me reservations about making spam illegal. Electronic mail's vulnerability to spam is a flaw in the design of the system itself. We should not attempt to solve this problem by introducing regulations that ban certain uses of electronic mail. When you think about it, a federally enforced do not spam list would be a similar approach to that taken by the DMCA. The DMCA attempts to reduce copyright violations by outlawing the distribution or use of software that exploits flawed copy-protection schemes. A federally enforced do not spam list would attempt to reduce destructive uses of email by outlawing certain uses of the flawed electronic mail system.

      What about alternatives? In general, we should look for a technological solution to this technological problem. The Bayesian spam filters that everyone has been talking about seem promising. Some system involving only accepting messages signed by trusted sources may also be possible. Of course, you can't list every source you would like to accept mail from, so a system like this may take some hard thought.

      Anyway, we may not find a perfect solution to the spam problem immediately, but my point is that government regulation is A Bad Idea.
      • Re:Now (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:46PM (#4919316) Journal
        The difference is that spam is always bad, and circumventing copyright protection has many ambiguous and good uses.

        Comparing DMCA and anti-spam laws can't be done, as they aren't equal.
      • Re:Now (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arkanes ( 521690 )
        This is not a technological problem. It's a social problem. Buisnesses assume that you want thier products and attentions, even in the face of your denials. Imagine, if you will, a really annoying guy following you around the mall. You have every right to NOT be harrassed by him, and, likewise, you have every right to not be contacted by people you don't wish to be contacted by. When you tell someone that you aren't interested in thier product, they should be obliged to no long attempt to sell it to you - thats the point of these do not call lists, and that would be the point of a no-spam list. Note that spam is, by definition, commercial email, not private correspondance, so this isn't a freedom of expression issue.

        Sadly, both spammers and telemarketers are pretty much totally morally bankrupt people - both buisnesses are based on the idea that if you bug someone enough, they'll give you money to go away.

  • Well (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Where's the FTC's national "Do Not Spam" list?
    • Barrier to Entry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mr.crutch ( 98516 ) <kingcrutch@yahoo.cQUOTEom minus punct> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:26PM (#4918740)
      The FTC can't reasonably regulate international companies, that's why.

      The trouble with a "Do Not Spam" list is that there is no international barrier to entry for any of these spammers. If they want to set their servers in Thailand and spam away, it's really not costing them any more than it would to have the servers sitting at a US facility (in fact, it might be cheaper).

      Compared to Spam, the cost of making an international phone call is significant. The vast majority of telemarketing companies are not using call centers internationally because the cost associated far outweighs the possible income generated by these cold calls. The FTC could try to regulate Spam, but the are just too many loopholes to be successful.
      • But.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:29PM (#4918778) Homepage
        It could also be made to be illegal to use spammers! Make companies that hire spammers liable for the same damages as the spammer. That will take away from the spammer's income stream.
        • Re:But.... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by multimed ( 189254 ) <`mrmultimedia' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:20PM (#4919171)
          That's exactly what I've been arguing for some time. For the most part, unsolicited spam is illegal, but it's not enforcable because the spammers change ISPs and/or are offshore, so they can't be found or punished. But there is almost always a contact of some sort in the email in order for the "customer" to give the company money. Businesses are knowingly paying some one to do something illegal, so they should be held culpable too. It's no different that holding a company that knowingly sells stolen goods liable. Just because they aren't the ones breaking the law doesn't mean they can profit from the crime.
      • by Large Green Mallard ( 31462 ) <lgm@theducks.org> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:31PM (#4918796) Homepage
        Compared to Spam, the cost of making an international phone call is significant.

        Keep in mind, a growing number of companies in the US are moving their call centres to India... it can't be TOO expensive :/
      • the "go away" mat (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mr. methane ( 593577 )
        Not sure if other companies are offering it, but my local telco offers a service which intercepts any calls with invalid caller ID ("out of area") and requests that the person identify themself, and then calls me up to ask whether I want the call or not.

        Before I got it, even with unlisted numbers, I was getting 2-3 calls a day. Now, if I get one per month, it's unusual. The rest hang up when they get the intercept. (The rare in-duh-vidual who does persist gets an earful that will hopefully make them quit on the spot)

        (I can also create PIN numbers for myself, spouse, etc. that allow us to bypass the system when we're calling from out of the country or the like)

        I think it's about six bucks a month.
        • Re:the "go away" mat (Score:3, Interesting)

          by yog ( 19073 )
          Verizon offers call intercept [verizon.com] for $5/month, which sounds like what you have. I wonder however if it's really worth $60/year.

          I've had pretty good luck by politely requesting: "Add this number to your no-call list"; so far, every telemarketer has understood this request. Some of them have read me a warning that it will take X weeks to propagate.

          My 2-3 telemarketing calls per day have decreased to perhaps one or two per month, mostly these recorded pitches for satellite dish sales and Disneyland vacations. I have taken to writing down the toll free numbers, calling them up and making the no-call request.

          One problem I've heard mentioned about a national no-solicitation law is that non-profits will get lumped in. Also, during election season I got a million recorded and live calls; I don't like'em but I can understand why they do them. Perhaps there should be a check-box for what kind of organizations you want excluded.

  • by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:20PM (#4918659) Homepage Journal
    Loosely related, but you can currently get off [dmaconsumers.org] Junk mail lists through a similar method.
    • It's Run by the DMA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mashie ( 267665 ) <jamesfgreer2@ y a h o o . c om> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:25PM (#4918726) Homepage

      Amusing that this do-not-mail list is maintained by the very group that is going to sue to stop the new do-not-call list.
      • by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:46PM (#4918947) Homepage
        Amusing that this do-not-mail list is maintained by the very group that is going to sue to stop the new do-not-call list.

        Indeed it is - however, having used the mail preference service since 1998, I can say without reservation that it works, and is a good thing. I still get some junk from local businesses who don't subscribe to the DMA's lists, but it's on the order of three or four pieces a month.

        The service is worth every penny I spent to get on it. (I think it was $0.32 for the stamp back then)
      • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:19PM (#4919168)
        Amusing or not, it does work. I sent in my card several years ago, and I get essentially no junk mail anymore.

        Also, after just a couple of months of methodically using the "do not call" line and being a bit of a prick about it, I do not get telemarketing calls anymore. NONE. It's been literally MONTHS since I've gotten a call. Once in a while a small local company will call and want to clean my furnace ducts or something, but that's like 2 or 3 times a year.

        These methods do work but you must be stubborn.
    • That costs $5. That sounds suspiciously like "pay us some money or we'll harass you."
  • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:20PM (#4918663) Journal
    to set legal precedent for effective anti-spam regulations?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Telemarketers hang up on you!
  • by program21 ( 469995 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:21PM (#4918665) Homepage Journal
    The DMA suing would basically be an admission that they use unethical tactics.
    From from what I've read, this doesn't say that they can't call, only that can't call if the number they are calling is on the Do Not Call list (and also the Caller ID stuff, which is secondary).
    Frankly, I don't see how this would in any way affect 'buying oppurtunities', as the list would be opt-in, and so anyone on that list DOESN'T want to hear from telemarketers; it's actually better for the marketers since they have a greater chance of reaching someone who might be their product.
  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:21PM (#4918673)
    Finally a list where you can post "ME TOO!!!" and it actually MATTERS!
  • I'd say at least 60% of all telemarketing calls I get are hangups and it is very annoying. My friend recently called from korea and left a message on my voicemail, his phone number didn't show up on the caller ID so no I have to answer all the unavailables. Sheesh, is it annoying. The worst is the pre-recorded unsolicited crap though, I had one of those come in right as I was about to call the doctor for an emeregency. Luckily it didn't turn out to be anything because the damn recording tied up my line so long I would have died before I got through.
  • can I be put on the DO-NOT-SPAM-ME list????

    What do you mean it's only for telephones?

    I'd like you to know Mr. Politician, I voted for the other guy.
    • Unfortunately, the FTC's do-not-call list doesn't cover all businesses, either. If it isn't regulated by the FTC (i.e, financial services), they aren't covered. However, the FCC is about to promulgate their own "do not call" list, that covers the rest... so, stay tuned. Personally, the calls from the *&#@! banks (who I have credit cards with) are the ones who call me the most, and therefore wouldn't be affected by the FTC action. So I'm waiting, Commissioner Powell...
  • how about (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sad Loser ( 625938 )
    doing the same for the Direct Marketing Association as we have for the self styled 'spam king'
    Details here [the-dma.org]
  • by InterruptDescriptorT ( 531083 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:22PM (#4918687) Homepage
    The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities

    Good grief! Can you the ultimate evil company's board of directors?

    CEO, EvilCo: Satan himself
    VP of Intellectual Property, West Coast: Jack Valenti
    VP of Intellectual Property, East Coast: Hilary Rosen
    VP of Sales and Marketing: The Direct Marketing Association
    CFO: David Skilling

    VP of Getting Royally Screwed Every Time Shit Goes Down: The customer.
  • by Cyclopedian ( 163375 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:22PM (#4918689) Journal
    The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities.

    Please. All the telemarketers want to sell you are 'insurance', aluminum siding, and all unwanted assorted crap. I'm an informed consumer and if there's something I want to get, I'll find it and get it myself, thank you.


    • Hey, don't you have a constitutional right to be interrupted during sex to wait on hold with a message, "we have an important call for you," so that you may get new curtains for your house for enhanced privacy.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:22PM (#4918692) Journal
    The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities

    Seems to me that if you took the time to sign up for this list, then you would be just plain pissed off by any further telemarketer calls, and thus not likely to purchase anything anyways. No customer lost here.

    Now, if they really want to advertise, I've found those washroom/urinal advertising signs to be quite effective as most men prefer to look straight forward and having something to read helps prevent the possibility of peripheral vision eye-wandering.
  • Misreading (Score:4, Funny)

    by adamwright ( 536224 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:23PM (#4918700) Homepage
    I originally read that as "The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue U.S. consumers for the potential loss of buying opportunities." and was remarkably unshocked :)
  • Don't call me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Student_Tech ( 66719 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:23PM (#4918702) Journal
    I'll call you if I want something your service offers. To quote one of my parents "We don't do business over the phone" (unless we made the call).
  • I seem to be pretty clear of them, but whenever I visit my parents place, even if it's just for dinner or something real short, they get a lot of silence-calls. Not hang-ups, the line doesn't go dead, just silence. My folks are pretty boring people and it's just them, so I'm not inclined to believe someone is fucking with them. Is this some type of auto-dialer fucking up somewhere?

    I can't believe people would use something like an auto-dialer. Go to the big house; bread and water, icy-showers, guards whupping your ass round the clock, and the only way? Suicide.
    • This is acutally the telemarketers computers waiting for you to pick up. Once they know they have a live number (which they have just determined by you yelling nasty things into the phone) they will call you back at a later date with a person there ready to harass you.

      I read this info a while back, but don't remember where.

      Those annoying tricky bastards!
    • I get silence calls all the time. It usually comes in clusters. For two or three days, 3-4 times a day, the phone rings, I answer, and nothing. Then we don't get another cluster for a week or so.

      I'm quite certain that it's autodialers, because once or twice I've just waited on the line for a minute or so and the soliciter has started talking. I then tell it to put me on the do not call list.
  • Oh well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Zapateria ( 597451 )
    ...I guess I'll have to put up with tormenting the Jehovah's Witnesses instead.
  • by Toraz Chryx ( 467835 ) <jamesboswell@btopenworld.com> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:23PM (#4918708) Homepage
    "The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities." the funniest sentence ever?

    "But we wanted to offer them a once in a lifetime chance!!!!!"
  • So far, the New York version has been fairly effective at stopping telemarketers from calling. I'm shocked, though, that the W bunch would have kept this thing going forward. My guess: they'll tank the lawsuit from the DMA and then say "We tried.".
    • The FTC (and the FCC) are independent commissions. The Executive trying to mess with what they do is, if not illegal, not ethical.

      I'm surprised nobody campaigned in 2000 on no-call lists. What's more likely to get a vote: "I will save education!" or "I will stop the telemarketer from calling you!" ??
  • Loopholes? (Score:3, Informative)

    by P!Alexander ( 448903 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:25PM (#4918727)
    As with every other law, I'm sure the lobbyists will make sure that we'll still get our fair share of calls from "legitamized" companies.

    From the FTC website [ftc.gov] (emphasis added):

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to give consumers a choice about whether they want to receive most telemarketing calls. Consumers soon will be able to put their phone numbers on a national "do not call" registry. It will be illegal for most telemarketers to call a number listed on the registry.

    We'll see exactly how it holds up...
  • Hey, let's help out! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:26PM (#4918736)
    What say we all get together and DoS DMA's infrastructure while this is in consideration? After all, if we were to keep calling them incessantly (and emailing, and whatever else we can do), it would certainly be an elegant form of vengeance, particularly if it impeded their ability to fight the FTC on this one. Don't forget to get the law firm that is "of counsel" to them in this matter :)
  • Telezapper... (Score:5, Informative)

    by wnknisely ( 51017 ) <wnknisely@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:26PM (#4918739) Homepage Journal
    On a related note:

    I grabbed one of those Telezappers while I was waiting in line at Staples last week buying a UPC. Danged if the silly thing doesn't work.

    It emits the three tones that the phone company plays when you dial an out of service phone number. Everyone hears it when I answer any call - but the cool part is listening to the auto-dialers automatically hangup when they "hear" it.

    There ought to be some way to hack together a similar machine using an old voice modem and some sort Tone controller - kind of a hybrid box for getting long distance phone calls for free. (Anyone else remember those?)
    • Re:Telezapper... (Score:2, Informative)

      by 4/3PI*R^3 ( 102276 )
      All you have to do is record these tones on the outgoing message of your answering machine. Then never answer a call before your answering machine picks up -- unless you of course you recognize the number on your caller id box.
    • Re:Telezapper... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:33PM (#4918827)
      Download the tone from http://heymoe.freeyellow.com/ [freeyellow.com] and record it on an old answering machine. Set the answering machine to pick up all calls on the first ring and volume to 'max' on the answering machine, so you can use it to screen your calls.

      Total cost? $5 for a cheap-ass answering machine at Wal-mart.
      • Re:Telezapper... (Score:3, Interesting)

        I know no one wants to give the phone company more money, but my parents finally decided to go for Verizon's "call-intercept" after enough debate, at $5 a month. Incoming callers who block their numbers from being identified are screened..here's the description:

        "Screens unidentified calls and lets you handle them however you like. Works with Caller ID, prompting unidentified callers to announce who they are before your phone rings."

        So anyway, it's apparently been working great. They used to get 5-10 calls a day at all hours. It's been a month since they signed up, and so far they get none from what I've heard. Could be a solution to telemarketing, although I don't like the fact that we have to pay for protection. I'd rather let the telemarketers pay fines, and maybe throw them in jail.
  • between "...the potential loss of buying opportunities." and an actual lost sale. It all really makes me wonder wtf is the legal system coming to in the US? Ideas anyone?
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:26PM (#4918749)

    The FTC is about to take away your ability to recieve great offers and buying opportunities through email.

    Stop them before they stop you!

    For a small donation of only $10, you can help fund the fight against unwanted government regulation in direct marketing.

    Remember that only you can make a difference.

    You have received this mail because you indicated that you wanted to receive promotional offers of this kind. If you no longer wish to receive mail like this, please click this link:

    http://www.spamhaus.com/addressverifier.pl?adress= cmdrtaco@slashdot.org [c]
  • Personally I think this is more important than the war on terrorism. I mean, nobody's tried to blow me up lately, but these calls happen every single day. So who isn't going to want to be on the national do not call list?
    Predictive dialing should simply be recognized as harassment and prosecuted as such under current law. If you or I repeatedly call somebody and then hang up, don't you think the police and/or phone company are going to be interested? Oh yeah, I forgot, the phone company is making money on all those calls.
    We could also legislate that all unsolicited commercial phone calls carry a surcharge. This surcharge can be rebated to consumers directly -- it shows up on your phone bill. The more you've been called, the more you get back.
  • Thanks (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Kow ( 184414 ) <putnamp@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:29PM (#4918773)
    The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities.

    Next: Stalker sues State for issuing restraining order, denying his ex-wife the opportunity to be harassed mercilessly.
  • by xombo ( 628858 )
    Why don't they do this with email and physical addresses so people wont mail you or email you, and maybe keeping away door to door salesmen too.
    • Ok, maybe you don't actually want the spam, but you want that included with your regular mail. The incremental costs to the postal service of processing the spam snail mail is small, allowing it to tackle high fixed costs of maintaining daily delivery. Unlike email spam, which RAISES the costs of your service, snail mail spam DECREASES the costs of your service. No spam snail mail and first class postage would cost a lot more.
  • It seems it'll be 'free' to consumers and paid for by fees collected from telemarketers. That'll just translate into higher prices on more goods, as companies will use those fees as justification for higher prices, and there'll be more 'justification' than I care to think about.

    No, I'd rather simply pay $5/year per number, or something similar, to have my numbers registered as 'do not call'. Or damn - have the phone companies collect it - they collect dozens of other taxes already. An extra 50 cents per number per month ($6/year) would go unnoticed and help fund this system.

    They could even make extra money by charging the telemarketers for the lists of DNC numbers, but the decision is up to the telemarketing companies. Keep a current list, or risk paying fines.

  • I am already on a no call list here in Colorado. It has worked well. If implemented right it works. My phone never rings anymore. If someone does get through and you mention your on a statewide no call list. The apologize and hang up, never to be heard from again. They just need one for spam and all would be good
  • The presumably similar Massachusetts "do not call" law [mass.gov] becomes effective January 1st, 2003. If you're a MA resident, visit http://www.mass.gov/donotcall [mass.gov] between January 1st and March 1st, 3002 to be added.

    My iPaq is set to remind me to sign up.


  • You cannot force international spammers to pay the fine. And you cannot force them to have a caller ID either. Unless you are ready to treat such way other goverments on behalf of their spamming residents. Or unless you are ready to disconnect whole countries from USA. Or unless you are able to change international laws for convinience of US citizens ...

    I knew that only moroons are working in the govt of the country #1, but I did not know that THAT moroons.

  • "The new FTC rules also require that telemarketers have Caller ID enabled..."

    That right there would make me want to buy a Microsoft Powered phone. Has anybody ever used Outlook's "Rules Wizard" before? Imagine being able to apply that to phone calls.

    Apply this rule when the phone rings
    whose phone number is not on the Contact List.
    Set ringer mode to silent.
    Answer with this message 'PlaceMeOnDNCList.wav'
    Hang up
    Set ringer mode to default
    Stop processing more rules

    (Actually I wouldn't care who made it, I just think MS would implement a decent version of it.)
  • If you live in the state of New York, there is already a statewide "Do not call" registry and you can sign up at the webpage at this link [nynocall.com]. It definitely reduced unsolicited calls for us dramatically.
  • There is a national DMA opt out method [dmaconsumers.org] (voluntary adherence, tho), but several legally enforcable state do not call lists [dmoz.org] you can enroll in.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:36PM (#4918858) Journal
    The "charity" loophole will end up VERY abused...

    "Hi, Fred here, from Fred's Aluminum Siding Non-Profit Shell Corporation and Charity. I'd like to talk to you about how 0.0001% of every purchase you make through us goes directly to feed starving, aluminum-siding-less children in South Africa..."

    Why not? It works for companies that want to buy their own personal politician... Does anyone really suspect ANY sane politician (I didn't say "ethical", just "sane") would dare take a stand against a scheme that could turn around and attack their major source of campaign financing?
    • Re:Translation... (Score:3, Informative)

      by DutchSter ( 150891 )
      I really don't think that this will be an issue...

      Unless the organization qualifies as an IRS-recognized tax-exempt organization (meaning they file their taxes accordingly), they must abide by the same rules as everyone else. Further, if an otherwise exempt organization uses a professional telemarketer to solicit on their behalf, the telemarketer is still bound by the regulations as if they were working for a "for profit" entity.

      Many states already have existing laws regarding lying about one's taxable status, especially when there is some level of deception involved. In my state, for instance, it is illegal to even claim to be donating/collecting proceeds for a charity unless at least 85% of the GROSS RECEIPTS (not NET), go directly to the charity.

      Operations like this will be quickly shutdown because a) they are violating the FTC telemarketing law b) they are claiming to be tax-exempt when the are not (helllloooo IRS and various state consumer agancies).
  • The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities

    Well in order for them to take any legal action on my behalf (along with the millions of other Americans with phones), I'd have to join their class action lawsuit. Which I wouldn't do even if it were the last class action lawsuit in the world, or even if me and their class action lawsuit were stranded on a desert island together.
  • actually bought anything from a telemarketer?

    "Yes, I would like to buy life insurance/cemorative plates/double glazing/magazine subscription from some company Ive known about a whole 30 seconds!

  • FTC timeline (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nuntius ( 92696 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:42PM (#4918899)
    From the FTC site: (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/donotcall/)

    "Once the Commission gets Congressional approval for funding, it will begin implementing the registry. Consumers will be able to begin signing up for the national "do not call" registry about four months later. About three months after that, the FTC will begin enforcing the registry, and consumers who have signed up will start receiving fewer calls. Consumers will be able to register for free online or by calling a toll-free number. The Web address and phone number for registration will be posted on this site when they are determined."
  • It works in Texas (Score:3, Informative)

    by bongholio ( 609944 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:43PM (#4918906)
    This is a great idea. Texas did something like this [texasnocall.com] a year or 2 ago, and I signed up. It cost a couple bucks, but it was worth it. We used to get at least half a dozen calls a day from telemarketers, and now we only get maybe 2 or 3 a week. And those are from charities, time-warner cable (since we already have a "business relationship" with them), and good ol' Gee Dubya (during election time).

    I don't want call from those people either, but at least it's a hell of a lot better now than before. And definitely worth the $2.
  • kill all forms of spam.

    unwanted advertising is just that. unwanted!

    any list i want to be on, i already am (local fire department etc).

    my state (CT) has it's own program [state.ct.us] that is mainly effective. a few still sneak through, but not every day like it was before they started this list.

    hopefully a national (international?) list would be well received, and well used, by the public.
  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:46PM (#4918944) Homepage Journal
    It's already illegal in the US to place unsolicited telemarketing calls to cell phones, because most service providers charge for incoming calls. (I think it's the same law as junk fax).

    Most telemarketers have databases of all known cell phone prefixes in the US, and will therefore NOT call them.

    So if you don't give out a landline phone number, you should be fine.
  • AHA! (Score:3, Funny)

    by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <research@aceretail.com> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:46PM (#4918946)
    The Homeland Security people will want to know just exactly WHY you don't want any calls?

    Perhaps you have something to HIDE????

  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @06:59PM (#4919049) Journal
    ok, I skimmed through, and saw that while there were lots of redundant posts on other things, I couldn't find one bringing up this particular point. So here goes:

    to quote the article, A company can call someone on the list if that person has bought, leased or rented something from the seller within 18 months. Telemarketers also can call consumers if they have inquired or applied for something during the last three months.

    If you read between the lines, you might find that there are certain companies that can easily still call you, even if you register. I bet, for instance, that AOL/TW can simply restructure their telemarketting, and get away with calling anyone still. Do you really think you can casually go without buying anything from AOL/TW for 18 months? That's a long time, for such a large company.

    seems to me this will mean that larger corporations will still be able to call you, since they will have sold you something in the last 18 months, whereas smaller companies that do not have the product diversity or proliferation will not be able to. I would not at all be suprized to find AOL/TW, Disney, Micrsoft, or folks along those lines behind this regulation.

    of course, I'm feeling pretty conspiracy-theoristic (like that word?) today.

  • by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:10PM (#4919116)
    Missouri Do not call list [state.mo.us]

    This has been in effect for a while and they even follow up on complaints.

    I VERY rarely get unsolicited calls anymore. Usually when I do, they are charities asking for money.

    I still get junk faxes at 2am on occassion and according to this [pingalingadingdong.com] I'm screwed.
  • by mttlg ( 174815 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:13PM (#4919139) Homepage Journal

    The Direct Marketing Association is threatening to sue to save U.S. consumers from the potential loss of buying opportunities.

    So now we need to get a national "do not sue on my behalf" list before we can get a national "I don't want a fucking Disney vacation, you worthless low-life answering machine spamming piece of scum" list? Yeah, I know, then the lawyers will sue because of the "potential loss of lawsuit opportunities." How about just a "Go to hell, DMA!" list? "Potential loss of buying opportunities?" Wouldn't that apply to the time that is wasted by telemarketers trying to sell me something I don't want when I could be researching or buying something I do want? Can I sue the DMA for causing this "potential loss of buying opportunities?"

  • by 4/3PI*R^3 ( 102276 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:30PM (#4919224)
    Rember when the phone system was only a simple person-to-person communication system?
    1. In came the telemarketers
    2. Next came legislation restriction the time of calls
    3. Then came Caller-ID (for a fee) to allow you to know who was calling before you answered
    4. Then came Caller-ID block (per use or permanently on your line for a fee) to allow you to block your Caller-ID information.
    5. Then came Anonymous Call Block (for a fee) so that anonymous telemarketers could not call your number.

    Let's recap:
    1. The phone company charges you and the telemarketer for person-to-person communication.
    2. The phone company sells your phone number to telemarketers.
    3. The phone company sells you and the telemarketer a method to identify who is calling before you answer.
    4. The phone company sells you and the telemarketer a method of hiding who you are.
    5. The phone company sells you and the telemarketer a method to block calls that are blocked.
    6. We have to spend our tax dollars to compile a list of numbers that telemarketers can't call.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this system? Isn't this like creating a war and then selling arms to both sides?

  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:33PM (#4919247) Homepage Journal
    The telemarketers sued over the recently created Colorado do-not-call list, too. They apparently don't even act in their own rational self interest! Surely it would be a benefit to them, saving them time and money, to be able to easily avoid calling people who they know will not buy the products or services they are selling.

    Or do telemarketers get paid based on the number of calls made, without regard to the number of actual sales? I can't imagine any of their clients would be willing to pay on such a basis, but I guess stranger things have happened.

    • It isn't in their best interest though. Everyone would jump on the do-not-call list. A lot of people say they never would buy from a telemarketer, but they sometimes cave, and that is what they would stand to lose. Don't like telemarketers, and I honestly don't listen to anyone, but I can see their logic.
  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:35PM (#4919258) Homepage
    I always say "I do not do business with people who call my house." This even goes for charities. I do not donate to organizations that call me.

    At first I thought this wouldn't work, but I've actually had a reduction in calls (that is, no repeats) and I almost always get apologies.

    Here as of late I've just been having fun with the telemarketers, since they're not as frequent as they used to be.


    ME: Hello?
    HER: Yes, I'm with (she said the name of some glasswork and door company) and we're calling to see if you would be interested in new windows for your home. Have you considered having new windows installed?
    ME: I don't have windows. I live in a dog house.
    HER: *giggle* Very funny, sir.
    ME: I don't think it's very funny at all.
    HER: ...
    ME: You think being homeless is funny?
    HER: *CLICK*
    • I've told Qwest (the phone company) that I don't have a phone before.

      See, normally I ask to be placed on their do not call list. All companies have to maintain one and are required to obey it. Works pretty well. However, any company you have a bussiness relationship is exempt from that (since they may have legitimate reasons to call you) so hence asking Qwest would do no good.

      Well Qwest had a big push for their DSL service and was calling everyone trying to get them to sign up. Fine, except I already HAVE DSL from them. Not only that, I have the expensive professional grade stuff and I've had it for like 3 YEARS now. It's not like they were trying to sell me an upgrade to it or anything (I pretty much have the best I can get), they were trying to sell me the service itself.

      I had told them a couple of times before that I already had this and to please stop calling me about it as it was really pointless. So at any rate, I got sick of it and decided to have fun and told one guy that I didn't have a hpone line. He stared with teh typical "ok well thank you" speech for when teh customer has said no and then kinda trailed off when he processed what I had actually said.

      They stopped calling about it :)
  • by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @07:56PM (#4919385) Journal
    are the cops.

    Some local foundation for police benefits was calling around asking for donations. Since they're a nonprofit, and perhaps government linked, they've got all kinds of special legal leeway with telemarketting. I think.

    They called me four fucking times in two days:

    "In these troubling times, do you feel that it's important to give our police officers all the support they need?"
    "Uh. I guess. Could you please put me on your do not call list?"
    "Oh. Sure."

    The next day, I got an identical call (different voice every time). Ten minutes later, another guy called.

    "I've asked you to put me on your do not call list twice already. How come you keep calling me?"
    "I'm sorry sir, I see you as a new number on my computer."
    "Well, I'm not. Is there something you can do about this? Clearly something is the matter with your computer system."
    "Well, I'll mark your number this time."
    "Thanks, But I'd..."
    [click] (cut off)

    Then, a half an hour later, I got another new voice. I interrupted him in middle of his pitch:

    "I'm sorry, this is the fourth time someone has called me for your fundraiser, and every single time I've told them to put me on the do not call list. I understand that your computer says that I'm a new number, but it's wrong. At this point, I'm concerned that you're operating your fundraiser in violation of FCC regulation..." (cut off)

    "Well. I can see why they didn't put your name on the no call list, asshole." [click]

    There were no more calls, though. I think the fundraiser ended. All the voices were men, so I guess it was off duty cops that were doing the calling. That would explain the attitude. I swear, I was perfectly polite with every single call. Until the last one, I guess. Thugs.
  • by Lagrange5 ( 267948 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @09:02PM (#4919742)
    Has anybody noticed that telemarketers are already making evasive maneuvers to elude the "please do not call me again" warning?


    [phone rings]
    Me: "Hello?"
    Telemarketer: "Yes, I just know you'll be pleased with our offer of Product Y."
    M: "Sorry--"
    T: [interrupts] "OkaythenI'llcallbacksomeothertimethankyouforyourt imegoodbye."

    As long as they can "complete the call" and hang up before you can identify them and make that "do not call" demand, they simply put you back in the call carousel for the next round of pitches. They want to preserve you as a potential resource. All they're looking for is the tiniest negative reaction to trigger that defensive response.

    A good countermove is to engage the caller first. Make them jump through your hoops.


    [phone rings]
    Me: "Hello?"
    Telemarketer: ""Yes, I just know you'll be pleased with our offer of Product Y."
    M: "Can I ask you two questions?"
    T: "Sure."
    M: "What company do you represent?"
    T: "Company X."
    M: [quickly] "Put me on your do-not-call list immediately. Can you do that for me? I do not want to receive any more calls from your company."

    Write the company name down and the time of the call. Get the caller to spell it out if you're not sure. Keep a list of these calls available whenever the phone rings.

    Solicitors are required by law to identify themselves clearly, and to comply with any "do not call" demand. One by one, they can be made to comply.
  • by _LORAX_ ( 4790 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @09:18PM (#4919844) Homepage

    1) Never give your phone number out at the cash register. I can't beleive the number of people that will give thier number, that makes a legitimate buisness relationship and they can call for another year and harass you.

    2) "Take me off your list" and "I don't ever want to receive a call from this marketing company either"

    3) They are required to provide you with name and contact information if asked. If you are on a DNC list demade the info and tkae the 2 minutes to fill out the web form that most states have.

    As for the charities and political calls. Sorry, the Supreme Court has always help political and non-commercial speeach with high reguard ( as we all would hope ).

    Since I have been on the NY DNC list I have received only a few annoying telemarketing calls and those were from people that disreguarded my previous attempt to legaly make them stop calling. They have since stoped since I filed a protest with NYS. Now if I could only get the Damm Red Cross to stop calling.
  • by etoh ( 635365 ) on Wednesday December 18, 2002 @10:55PM (#4920354)
    Not sure what to make of this. I work in the telecommunications industry installing and programming Predictive Dialers and CTI systems for call centers. I can however give thoughts on whether or not a no-call list will do much.

    I am on the no call list in Georgia and it has helped some with the reputable marketers. Where this isn't going to help is the small mom and pop shops calling you (which is the majority).

    The way it works is there are hundreds of fly by night call centers that rent out their agents on a per call basis. Most of these call centers are cheap, poorly run, follow no laws, and in general bill the business for each call. They set up shop, hire out 30 redneck house wives, run for a few months, then shut down and do it again elsewhere.

    Whether or not this will help will depend on a few things.

    1: The ability of the policing body to act quickly. If there is a 2 month delay the offending call center is probrably changed or gone and will never get fined.

    2: The ability to obtain the records of who the call centers customers are and which customer the call was placed for. If they never fine the companies that actually "purchased" the call then the practice will go unabated.

    The other problem is the part about if they have already done business with you. If the call center has 20 customers they are placing calls for, and you have bought something from 1 of them, they may claim that status. I know most of you are thinking "I haven't bought anything from these small places". Keep in mind that a call center may have customers ranging from the Mortgage company trying to get your business all the way to the Phone Company you use (and yes, 90% of BabyBell calls are outsourced to outside call centers).

    So chances are this No Call list won't make as much difference as most people think.

    Oh Yeah, this should appease the people here.....99% of Call Centers are Windows based. Databases, Web Servers, Phone Systems, Desktops, You name it. No Linux at all!


    (hope this doesn't get me fired)
  • Works fine in the UK (Score:3, Informative)

    by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Thursday December 19, 2002 @07:23AM (#4921836) Homepage
    About a year ago I signed up with the Telephone Preference Service [tpsonline.org.uk]. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it works just fine.

    You can sign up online for free (they send a letter of acknowledgement in the post) and it is backed by legislation. It isn't perfect, but I reckon that after a few months the number of unwanted calls dropped by more than 90%.

    Charities are not excempt, and the only people who can legitimately still call you are companies with whom you have previously done business.

    There are similar schemes for snail mail and fax junk which also seem to work well. They also have an email one, but that's a bit pointless since most spam comes from outside the UK.

    In summary, I'm very happy with the system and I hope that those of you in more backward countries get a similar system soon ;-).

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus