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DMA STATEMENT: FEDERAL APPELLATE COURT S DO-NOT-CALL LIST RULING
NEW YORK, February 17, 2004 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit today rendered a judgment that allows the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue operating the National Do Not Call Registry in its current form.
The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) said that, just as the U.S. telemarketing industry has done since October of last year when the national no-call list was implemented, the industry will follow the law and use the National Do Not Call Registry.
The DMA also said it is considering its options and is reviewing the court’s ruling with its legal counsel.
Moreover, The DMA reiterated its call for the FTC and FCC to resolve the fundamental flaws of the registry and inconsistent regulations that were the primary motivation for The DMA’s legal actions.
"Regardless of where we go from here, we will follow the law and hold steady to the pledge we made to consumers when the do-not-call list was in legal limbo last fall: Our industry will respect the wishes of consumers who have placed their household telephone numbers on the do-not-call list," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA.
"However, we urge the FTC and FCC to address the problems with the list’s online registration process and privacy safeguards, as well as the need for the harmonization of inconsistent do-not-call rules between the two agencies, and we pledge our full cooperation and support to that end." Wientzen added.
Last September, The DMA called on the entire telemarketing industry to voluntarily abide by the National Do Not Call Registry even when it was in legal limbo due to lower federal court rulings. The DMA’s call for voluntary compliance was heeded by an estimated 90 percent of the industry. Reputable marketers continue to scrub their lists against the FTC’s list and will abide by today’s court ruling.
Do-Not-Call List Prone to Abuse
According to The DMA, the FTC’s online registration process lacks appropriate safeguards to prevent the abuse of the list. Currently, any person can go to the do-not-call Web site and register any phone number onto the list without any verification of who that person is or whose phone number is being registered.
This raises the specter of anti-competitive practices. Simply put, there is absolutely nothing in place to prevent businesses from registering their customers names, thereby ensuring that competitors cannot call.
Additionally, there are weak defenses in place against hackers, as it is possible to automatically register phone numbers in bulk via nefarious computer programming.
Inconsistent Regulations Between FTC/FCC Makes Compliance Difficult
The DMA further pointed out that inconsistencies between the FTC and FCC’s do-not-call rules makes compliance difficult. The DMA recommits to work cooperatively with both agencies to assist in any way to harmonize no-call rules.
About The DMA
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned economic-impact study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $1.7 trillion in 2003, including $133 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site is www.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.
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