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DMA STATEMENT ON FCC HEARINGS ON NATIONAL DO NOT CALL LIST: Industry Do-Not-Call List and New Technologies Obviate Need for Federalized Registry
NEW YORK, September 12, 2002 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today said there is no need to create a new federal bureaucracy that would re-invent the wheel by creating a federalized list, as is being considered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The DMA remains committed to an industry-run national do-not-call list as the most effective way to manage consumers' telephone marketing preferences. That is The DMA's Telephone Preference Service (TPS), established in 1985. Moreover, The DMA does not believe it is the proper role of government to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on duplicating existing services.
TPS has been extremely successful in reducing the unwanted national telephone solicitations registrants receive because DMA members are required to suppress TPS names against their prospect lists, and because non-members use it widely as well. As of today, approximately 4.8 million individuals are registered on TPS.
The DMA also continues to combine the states’ do-not-call lists into its TPS, furthering our goal to achieve a truly universal private-sector no-call list. It is imperative that we work with the FCC to ensure any new rules do not unfairly target a legitimate business practice that provides consumers with valuable services and benefits, including lower rates and greater selection.
Furthermore, existing federal laws and regulations are already in place to protect consumers. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), implemented in 1991, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), implemented in 1995, stipulate, among other things, that, when requested, companies must place consumers maintain their own do-not-call lists for a period of 10 years.
In addition, emerging technologies will strengthen the existing TCPA and the TSR, further eliminating any need for a federalized registry. In fact, we believe that the evolvement of caller-ID and its new potential application to T-1 lines will create an even greater ability for consumers to opt-out of company-specific telephone marketing lists.
"The DMA has maintained a national do-not-call list since the mid-1980s – long before the states or federal government came up with the idea," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "For legitimate marketers, it has always made good business sense to respect consumers' marketing preferences – something that can easily be done without a new government bureaucracy. Of course fly-by-night scammers will not follow any law or rule that the government creates."
"Any new government regulation of this already heavily regulated industry must take into account the millions of jobs and thousands of companies at stake," said Wientzen.
With each new government list, America's marketers' costs increase thereby jeopardizing the much-needed jobs they provide. The proposed federal list, combined with the 27 states lists already in existence, creates a perilous economic climate for the nearly 1.2 million Americans directly employed by the teleservices industry and the 4.8 million more whose jobs are indirectly tied to it.
The DMA's Face of the Teleservices Industry 2002 Survey, conducted earlier this year, demonstrated the potentially devastating impact of proposed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over-regulation of the teleservices industry. Additional federal regulation would disproportionately affect the ability of women, minorities and students to find well-paid, steady employment.
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 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 $118 billion in catalog sales and $30 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.