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DMA TELEPHONE PREFERENCE SERVICE IS 80% EFFECTIVE; NO NEED FOR GOVERNMENT-RUN DO-NOT-CALL LIST: DMA MAKES NATIONAL DO-NOT-CALL COUNTER PROPOSAL
NEW YORK, December 9, 2002 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today announced the results of an audit of its national Telephone Preference Service (TPS) showing that the service, available free to consumers, is 80.5 percent effective at decreasing the number of telephone solicitations. This result and the further emergence of caller-ID technology obviate the need for a government-run do-not-call registry, The DMA today told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a written filing.
"There is no need to create a new federal bureaucracy that would re-invent the wheel by creating a government do-not-call list," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "We are also concerned that the FCC may be moving toward enacting new regulations when there is no credible evidence that the current rules do not work."
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 7.5 million individuals are registered on TPS.
A summary of the survey results as well as The DMA’s complete FCC filing will be posted at www.the-dma.org on Tuesday, December 10, 2002.
‘SUM OF THE STATES’ PROPOSAL
In addition, The DMA told the FCC that companies engaged in telephone solicitation should still be required to maintain company-specific lists. Among other things, The DMA said this would ensure that consumers – including existing customers – are able to indicate that they do not want to receive calls from a particular organization without having to limit calls from all commercial firms.
The DMA reiterated its commitment 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), which was established in 1985. Moreover, The DMA said it does not believe it is the proper role of government to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on duplicating existing services.
In addition, The DMA told the FCC that emerging technologies will strengthen the existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Telephone Sales Rule (TSR), further eliminating any need for a federalized registry. In fact, The DMA said it believes that the evolvement of caller-ID and its new potential application to T-1 lines likely could create an even greater ability for consumers to opt-out of company-specific telephone marketing lists.
"Ironically, and irrationally, the costs associated with complying with a government-run do-not-call lists ultimately will be borne by consumers who do want to receive information about goods and services by telephone and who do purchase in response to those calls," said Wientzen. In 2001, consumers purchased $296 billion worth of goods and services via outbound telephone solicitations.
The DMA pointed out that complaints logged by the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and states make up an infinitesimally small percentage of the total calls made. The FCC noted that from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2001, it had received approximately 11,000 complaints. Based on the data set forth in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making, this represents less than one-hundredth of one percent of telephone solicitation calls made during this two-year period.
"The reality is that a very large number of these complaints has nothing to do with compliance with do-not-call requirements. The solution to the modest problem of consumer complaints is not a new government-run list, but much more aggressive – and narrowly tailored – enforcement of the current rules," said Wientzen.
SUMMARY OF ADDITIONAL DMA COMMENTS
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.