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Marketers Feel Sting From High Do Not Call Fees
Washington, DC, May 2, 2006 – Legitimate marketers who are struggling to comply with federal and state do-not-call laws were hit again this week when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a 10.7 percent increase in the fees charged to telemarketers to access the National Do Not Call Registry.
The Do Not Call Registry, in effect since October 2003, has allowed millions of Americans to express their preferences about receiving telephone solicitations. The FTC has consistently reported a high rate of compliance among marketers. However, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) warns that complying with the law is becoming increasingly difficult, due to high costs, inefficient lists and a patchwork of varying state requirements.
Earlier this week, the FTC proposed to increase the fee charged to marketers to access the Registry from $56 to $62 for each area code of data accessed. The maximum annual amount charged to entities accessing 280 area codes or more would increase from $15,400 to $17,050.
“In less than three years since the Registry came into existence, the costs for marketers to access the lists have risen by 148 percent – far beyond the rate of inflation,” said Jerry Cerasale, DMA’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. Cerasale also noted that in addition to the fee for accessing the federal Registry, marketers must also pay additional fees to access separate registries in 13 states. “In effect, legitimate companies are being taxed multiple times for their willingness to comply with the law.”
DMA continues to call for federal preemption of the Do Not Call Registry and other regulations governing telephone and fax marketing. Two years ago, DMA formally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use its preemptive power to regulate interstate telemarketing. DMA believes that the Communications Act of 1934, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 all confer upon the FCC exclusive jurisdiction over interstate telemarketing.
DMA has also expressed concerns about the large percentage of unnecessary numbers on the federal Do Not Call Registry, which are making that list more difficult and expensive to maintain. The Registry governs business-to-consumer calls to land-based telephone numbers. However, DMA estimates that approximately half of the 122 million numbers on the list are for business, fax or cellular telephones.
“Business-to-business and fax calls are governed by a different set of rules, and the presence of those numbers on the list is an unnecessary expense and complication,” said Cerasale. “The same goes for cellular numbers, since the TCPA makes it illegal to solicit wireless phone numbers without clear permission from the consumer.”
“DMA and its members are committed to respecting the wishes of consumers who do not wish to receive telephone solicitations, but we see a definite need for changes that will reduce the burden for the marketers who are working hard to do the right thing and struggling to compete in a tighter marketplace,” added Cerasale.
About the DMA
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of business and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the entire direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today has more than 4,800 corporate, affiliate, and chapter members from the US and 46 other nations, including 55 companies listed on the Fortune 100.
In 2005, companies will spend more than $161 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures are expected to generate $1.85 trillion in increased sales in 2005, or 7% of the $26 trillion in total sales in the US economy (which includes intermediate sales). All together, direct marketing will account for 10.3% of total US GDP in 2005.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.