16 CFR Part 310: Telemarketing Sales Rule #00021 

Submission Number:
M. Gregory Smith
Accudata Technologies
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 310: Telemarketing Sales Rule
Records seem to indicate that 80% of landline telephone end users still subscribe to Caller I D with Calling Name (CNAM). Carriers providing CNAM service continue to be allowed to send erroneous responses to their paying customers like "out of area" or "unavailable" when, in fact, a name for the number is available in the recognized North American CNAM databases. The TSR needs to be re-written. It has always fallen short. The missing piece is, "Telephone companies providing Caller I D services with Caller Name MUST provide that name for each call to a subscriber unless there is a rare technical issue with accessing and sending the name." In recent years, more and more carriers have dropped contracts with others CNAM DB and do not attempt to acquire many names. This is a similar situation with the more commonly described "intercarrier compensation." It should be noted that the cost per name in recent years has dropped dramatically to less than $0.0040 per dip on average, while, at the same time, many tariffed rates for Caller I D with Calling Name (enhanced Caller ID) has increased. Telephone companies of all kinds who offer Calling Name must be made to deliver names every time with their "Best Effort" or not offer the service. The TSR, as written, failed to recognize that calling name delivery is the responsibility of the local phone company providing the end user's service. End users subscribing to this service have the right to receive all possible names. Further, the FTC, and it should be clearly reflected, needs to comprehend that telemarketers do not "send the name' for CNAM. Telemarketer equipment ONLY controls the ten digit number that is transmitted. All names are in the CNAM DB's. Further, the FTC needs to require CNAM database companies to store actual names in their databases (DB) if they are going to store a number in their DB. About 30% of the time the name in the DBs is blank. In test situations, until the DBs are correctly updated, the providers of this service should send a response that says "Name Missing". This would mean they tried to get the name from the proper DB, but the field was blank. In rare instances, smaller ILECs, CLECs, and VoIP companies do not even attempt to store their information in an available CNAM DB. The FTC should require that they store CNAM, as they should require CNAM delivering companies to dip for the name. The TSR should continue to allow telemarketers to store, for delivery, either their company name or the campaign or product for which they are calling. The technology exists today to make a change in names stored in CNAM DB's very quickly. A telemarketer could dial with a number in the morning, for example, associated with "American Heart Association" and in the afternoon, "March of Dimes,". There are systems in operation today with CNAM DB companies already providing this capability. Generally, ethical telemarketers including those for non-profit/charitable fund raising and political party calling WISH to always have the name of the campaign displayed. They find more success with this. Finally, there is no apparent reason to ever support or allow the use of any equipment or software that supports what is known as "Caller I D Spoofing." This practice of inserting a false 10 digit number as an ANI should be made illegal with a formal law.