|From: Jeff Hecht
Date: Fri, Mar 3, 2000 8:29 AM
Subject: Telemarketing Review -- Comment. FTC File No. P994414
I wish to bring to your attention a new form of telemarketing abuse or harassment that has increased tremendously over the past few years: calls that when answered have no person on the line. This occur when telemarketing companies use autodiallers which dial numbers for human telemarketers before the staff is available to place the call. In the likely event that no one at the telemarketing company is on the line when the phone starts ringing, a person who picks up the call hears only "dead air".
Ten years ago, dead air calls were the domain of children playing games harassing their neighbors, and the occasional "heavy breather" harassing women. When caught they faced serious punishment. Now telemarketers are doing this routinely. I often receive several dead-air calls a week. This behavior has the same effect as harassment that was considered illegal nuisance calling, and should be treated the same way by outlawing anticipatory autodiallers. It is particularly dangerous for the elderly. The time has come for new rules outlawing such nuisance marketing calls.