|Received:||1/10/2005 9:10:48 PM|
|Subject:||Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 310|
Comments:Dear Chairman Majoras: I write to comment on Prerecorded Message EBR Telemarketing, Project No. R411001, specifically, proposed 16 C.F.R. 310.4(b)(5). In my opinion, proposed 310.4(b)(5) would not be in the public interest. To the contrary, I believe it would be adverse to the public interest. The crucial elements in order for a consumer to make an informed decision are : 1) the consumer receives enough information to make an informed decision; and 2) the consumer properly understands the information received. If either of these elements are not completely met, the consumer may become dissatisfied with his or her decision. This is not only distressing to the consumer, but threatens the relationship between the consumer and the business providing the goods or services. A dissatisfied consumer, especially one that may believe, rigthly or wrongly, that it was mislead by the telemarketer, may file complaints with the FTC or other federal, state or local agencies. The best way to ensure that a consumer receives the information she needs and understands it is to have the consumer interact with a live person. This permits the consumer to ask for more information or clarification regarding the product or service being offered. This is most effective when the consumer may ask a question immediate when it arises. If the consumer cannot do so immediately, or the consumer perceives that it would be burdensome to do so, the consumer may not do so, either because the consumer does not later remember the exact nature of the inquiry, or because the consumer considers it too burdensome. The result is that the consumer may not receive and understand all the information he needs to make an informed decision. This can lead to either the consumer becoming dissatisfied with his purchase decision, or declining to buy the offered goods or services because he does not believe he has adequate information and understanding to do so. It is for these reasons that a pre-recorded message as would be permitted by proposed 310.4(b)(5) would be detrimental. Despite the best effort by businesses to create a complete and clear pre-recorded message, there will be many consumers who need or desire additional information or clarification. A pre-recorded message does not permit the consumer to immediately seek such information or clarification. While the Commission believes that measures may be taken so that the consumer may obtain additional information, such as pressing a button on the telephone or calling a toll-free telephone number to speak to a sales representative, none of these provide the immediacy of speaking to a live person during the initial telemarketing call. Consumer may thus not make use of such measures, particularly if the consumer considers it too burdensome (note that to utilize a toll-free number, the consumer must first take down the number, hang up the phone, and dial an additional number). The Commission states that increased usage of pre-recorded messages may decrease dead air time, hang-ups, and call abandonment. However, these may also be decreased by other measures, such as telemarketers ensuring that they have enough salespersons available for live calls. Further, I believe that consumers would prefer a few seconds of dead air time than ultimately becoming dissatisfied with their purchase decisions. In summary, I believe that implentation of proposed 310.4(b)(5) would decrease the information and clarification requested by consumers from telemarketers, resulting in: 1) a decreased rate of purchases by consumers; 2) and increased rate of dissatisfaction by consumers; and 3) an increased rate of complaints filed by consumers with regulatory agencies. The Commission should therefore not adopt proposed 310.4(b)(5) as a final rule.