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THE DMA REASSURES CONSUMERS OF COMPLIANCE WITH FCC RULES BY OCT 1
NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 29, 2003 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) announced to consumers and marketers that today's announcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) essentially seems to make a national Do Not Call Registry legally enforceable on October 1, subject to any additional court action that may be announced.
The DMA, the largest trade association representing telephone marketers, has been calling on its members and the entire industry to voluntarily comply with the wishes of consumers who have registered their household phone numbers on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) no-call registry regardless of whether the list is legally enforceable or not, due to various court rulings last week.
"Our first priority has always been to ensure that consumers' wishes are respected," said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president, government affairs, The DMA. "Today's action by the FCC may raise new legal questions, but it appears that this will become the law of the land on October 1. In any event, we will work to the extent of our powers to ensure that the wishes of consumers will be honored."
The DMA advised its members who have previously registered and downloaded the list from the FTC to verify that they will comply with the FCC rule on October 1. The DMA also alerted its members that the FTC has closed access to the list as of this past weekend.
Any marketer who has not yet registered with the FTC faces liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for calling after October 1 without first scrubbing their marketing lists against the national no-call list. Service bureaus also face prosecution if they cannot verify subscriber access to the FTC list by their marketing clients – a function that the FTC also closed this past weekend.
"This leaves marketers, especially small ones, who had waited to purchase the list, due to last week's legal decisions, or who had read statements from the FTC indicating that they may be able to receive it free of charge in a Catch-22," said Cerasale. "They will not be able to make calls, and they will be unable to obtain the list or verify whether that their customers have obtained the list legally."
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 are projected to have surpassed $2 trillion in 2002, including $126 billion in catalog sales and $34 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.