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DMA: FTC Seeking Inappropriate Use Of Taxpayer Dollars To Limit Communications And Commerce
Telephone Marketing Generated $668 Billion in 2001 and Employed Six Million
NEW YORK, January 22, 2002 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today expressed concern about the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) announcement to propose a national list to restrict telephone solicitations to consumers.
"The telemarketing sector is an essential part of our communications and marketing industry," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "The government may be overstepping its boundaries by spending taxpayer dollars to limit communication - that is protected by the first amendment - to American consumers who benefit from and shop via telephone solicitations."
"The FTC must be careful and deliberate in weighing the merits of this proposal because more than six million jobs and $668 billion in sales in the United States are at stake. And there is a very real possibility that it could push companies off-shore – to other countries as a way to avoid burdensome U.S. regulations."
Wientzen added that The DMA has maintained the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), a national do-not-call list, to which 4.1 million Americans have signed up, for 17 years.
"Today’s announcement does not mean that the FTC sees telemarketing as a bad thing," Wientzen added. "In fact, we are pleased that they want to ensure the continued viability of this important channel of commerce by joining the direct marketing industry in looking for ways to protect consumer choice."
"As a condition of membership, all DMA members must already purge their lists against our TPS, ensuring that consumers’ choices about how they wish to communicate and shop are respected. Because of the size of The DMA membership, the bulk of legitimate telemarketers subscribe to TPS already. A new list may be just belts and suspenders."
It is also important to note that this is only a proposal. Any actual rule change would not take place for months, if not longer, and only after input from all sides. And then implementation is an additional step. The DMA will be working closely with FTC leadership and staff throughout this long process to make absolutely certain that industry’s concerns and positions are articulated, and that any resultant regulation would be fair, balanced and practical.
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 5,000 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States exceeded $1.86 trillion in 2001, including $110 billion in catalog sales and $28 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web Site iswww.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.
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