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THE DMA AND ATA JOINTLY FILE COMMENT ON FTC S PROPOSED RULEMAKING ON ABANDONED CALL SAFE HARBOR
NEW YORK, January 11, 2005 — The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) and the American Teleservices Association (ATA) have jointly submitted comments on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed ruling to create an additional call abandonment safe harbor for telemarketing.
In response to the FTC’s request for comments on the proposed rulemaking, The DMA and ATA have submitted the following remarks:
"The DMA strongly believes that the FCC and FTC compliance standards should be harmonized," said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president, government affairs, The DMA. "The FCC 30-day standard provides more flexibility to businesses while limiting the same number of abandoned calls."
"The ATA believes that the consumers’ right to decide whether to receive commercial prerecorded messages is effectively preserved by the FCC’s rules regarding prerecorded messages," said Tim Searcy, chief executive officer, ATA.
Voice mail messaging is used to provide added service to customers to inform them of upcoming events of interest, remind them of service calls and appointments, inform them of special offers, and otherwise enhance the customer relationship. Voice mail messaging is particularly attractive to smaller businesses that leave messages in order to contact customers on a cost-effective basis.
"Small businesses need cost-effective means for contacting customers. Prerecorded messages serve the customers and businesses," concluded Searcy.
Harmonizing 30-Day Compliance Standards
"To our knowledge, The FCC has no indication that there has been abuse of the 30-day standard, nor is there indication that it is not producing its intended result," Cerasale added.
The DMA and ATA maintain that measuring calls over a 30-day period will provide businesses with greater flexibility necessary to recognize the benefits of predictive dialer technology, particularly in the case of small businesses and segmented lists. If small programs and list segments can be averaged out over a longer period of time and across campaigns, the consumer will benefit by receiving more targeted calls.
About The DMA
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading trade association for businesses and organizations interested in direct, interactive, and database marketing, which in 2003 generated more than $1.7 trillion in US sales, including $134 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in Web-driven sales. In addition to catalogs and the Web, DMA members employ a wide variety of marketing media, including mail, e-mail, telephone, newspapers and magazines, interactive television, and radio, among others. Founded in 1917, The DMA today has more than 5,200 corporate, affiliate, and chapter members from the US and 44 other nations. Reflecting the significant and growing role that direct and interactive marketing plays in today’s advertising mix, The DMA’s membership represents marketers from every business segment, including catalogers, Internet retailers, retail stores, nonprofit organizations, advertising agencies, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, industrial manufacturers, and a host of other vertical segments, as well as the service industries that support marketers.
About the ATA
The ATA the leading trade association dedicated exclusively to the Teleservices industry, represents the call centers, trainers, consultants, and equipment suppliers that initiate, facilitate, and generate telephone, Internet, and email sales, service, and support. Call centers offer traditional and interactive services that support the e-commerce revolution, provide specialized customer service for Fortune 500 companies, and generate annual sales of more than $500 billion.
The ATA represents members' interests by advocating on Capitol Hill and in statehouses nationwide, providing advanced professional education opportunities, defending the teleservices industry in the public realm, and acting as the industry's information clearinghouse.