|Received:||11/27/2004 3:47:47 PM|
|Subject:||Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 310|
Comments:I am not in favor of the proposed changes to the rules for telemarketing sales. I used to work in the telemarketing industry and am still a marketing professional, so I am not speaking merely as a consumer but also as a business professional in the industry. The Do Not Call list has been around for quite a while - it existed 10 years ago when I was in telemarketing. The fact that it has expanded to the degree it has is a reflection of the industry's lack of regard for consumer distaste of this method of marketing. There are plenty of other methods of marketing to consumers, yet telemarketing is (or was) fairly inexpensive and fairly successful. And that was the catch - no matter how much consumers said they didn't like the method, they would still purchase. However, I (as a manager) also spoke to many an irate customer who was extremely displeased with being bothered by telemarketing calls from our company. And that is the beauty of the Do Not Call list. The customers that become irate at telemarketing calls are not going to buy or even be receptive to the calls, so what's the point of having their names on the list? This is the reality that the DMA and the telemarketing industry do not like to acknowledge, because the industry wants a larger universe to call. With more calls, they can make more money from the client companies, and charge more for the calling campaign overall. However, there is a point of diminishing returns on every list, and the industry knows that. The Do Not Call list makes the calling universe for each campaign smaller, but it also helps the industry by culling out those of us who do not wish to be contacted and who would never buy via telemarketing. And if you acknowledge that there is such a universe of consumers (who are very annoyed by the calls and who would never buy), then it seems unlikely that being called by a pre-recorded message versus a live person will matter - it will still be a nuisance call. Why would the businesses want to bother? Why risk upsetting a loyal client? On the other hand, one might say, "Well, that should be a decision for the companies themselves." Perhaps, but the popularity of the national Do Not Call list speaks to the true dissatisfaction of the public with this method. I'm not in favor of government regulation of many things, but businesses have shown their inability to govern themselves in this area. The people have spoken. Why test their resolve and make them even more unhappy with any telemarketing? As far as the call abandonment issue, again the industry ought to know better. Telemarketing is a delicate balance of many things, but it is ultimately a touch between a business and its customers. If the touch goes badly (as any abandonment will) and the customer has caller ID (which now is in quite a large percentage of homes), there is an opportunity only for the customer to have negative feelings. It doesn't make consumers any more warm and fuzzy about the company or the act of telemarketing, and may contribute to the Do Not Call list gaining another name! In conclusion, I know the industry's arguments and I know what it's like to be a consumer on the receiving end. The industry can still exist by concentrating on those customers who are not averse to telemarketing, or by utilizing other marketing methods to contact customers that are. In this case, government regulation is necessary to protect the consumer from an unwelcome marketing advance. Keep the current regulations with no changes - consumers have asked for it and demanded it.