|Received:||11/27/2004 6:06:15 PM|
|Subject:||Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 310|
Comments:There appears to be two major parts to this, (1) the change allowing marketers call a consumer if there is an 'established business relationship' and (2) the proposed change regarding call abandonment from 'campaign' to '30 days'. First of all, for the record, I have yet to be privvy to ANY telemarketer abiding by any of these rules in their current form, much less in any proposed form. The most that I am able to do has been to threaten them with filing a report, which, sometimes, causes they to delay calling again for an extra week or two. So, in my opinion, it would be better to work on the enforcement of the regulations, rather than opening loop holes. Now, for comment on the specific items. Number (1) sounds almost absurd, as we have already seen many examples of how this, very obvious, loop hole can be extorted with very little effort. An 'business relationship', unless explicitly defined, could mean as much as a record of a catalog mailing to the person's name and address, or for that matter, receiving a mailing list from an associated company who has asked their customers, on a web form with the choice defaulted to 'Yes', if they can be contacted by their partners. If such a change is going to be implemented, then the wording should, at the very least, provide enough definition to stop thwart attempts by the telemarketers to slip by. For example, "with an established, direct business relationship. Whereas a direct business relationship is consituted by the consumer either (a) having been informed of the company name, address and services or products that they sell as well as the intent to place their personal information, including name, address, phone number or any other information collection on the company's telemarketing list or (b) purchasing a product or service directly from the company and answering in the affirmative to similar discloses as put forth in part (a). An affirmative response to either part (a) or (b) may only be construed as valid should it be solicitied from the telemarketing company directly and such solicitation be presented in such a way that the default response is in the negative." Having each and every company identified and required to be answered to, as well as the defaulted answer in the negative, will go a long way to curbing persistent telemarketers. Of note, this procedure has been used on the internet for some time in the form of 'opt-in' mailing lists. The second part of the comment request, part (2) regarding the change from 'campagin' to '30 days' appears to be a flagrant attempt to create a loophole on the sly. Right now, when I tell a marketer I want to be taken off, their response is that it may take 30 days for the change to go through. My question would be, how do you measure the 30 days? In the calendar month, or is it a rolling day. Also, if, in that 30 days, the request to be removed has not been fulfilled yet, and another marketer calls and the consumer hangs up out of frustration, is this going to clear that do not call status? What are the motivations behind this change? And how long do normal marketing campaigns last that the change from 'length of the campaign' to '30 day period' is necessary or required? Although I am running out of comment space, this particular part of the proposed changes should be reviewed carefully with regards to who is this benefiting? If no one, then why propose it at all? Is the marketers, I say No. If the consumers, I would ask "Why?" because I have yet to see a telemarketer with my best interest in mind. To summarize, my opinion is that the requested changes in part (1) allow contact with consumers with a business relationship be denied, unless significant change be made and those in part (2) be denied until such a time that the motivational issues and a full analysis of who is benefiting from such a change is made.