|From: Jim Gindin
Date: Thu, Mar 2, 2000 4:04 PM
Subject: Telemarketing Review--Comment. FTC File No. P994414
To the FTC,
Please consider revising the Telemarketing Sales Rule to allow consumers some sort of method to block all sales calls. The current system simply doesn't work. AT&T, for example, has called my home nearly 20 times in the last two years. Each time, I've asked to be placed on a "no-call" list. A couple of times, I've asked to be transferred to a manager. Each time, the phone was hung up on me.
AT&T is probably the biggest abuser, in my case. They contract dozens of companies to call for them, thinking they're complying with the letter of the law.
But local companies have joined the fray as well. For some reason, every auto window glass company in the area calls repeatedly. Some callers just hang up when I ask to be placed on a "no-call" list. The Seattle Times brags in public about its "guerilla marketing" campaign to add subscribers. They've called six times in the last two years, ignoring no-call requests. Two Times employees have roamed my neighborhood after dark, banging on doors. I wrote to the DMA to have my phone number placed on a global no-call list, and that didn't stem the tide of phone calls at all.
I work at home, and my time is valuable to me. I consider the Bill of Rights to be the most important document ever written, and I love this country, but the First Amendment does not apply inside the boundaries of my own home. Because of the intrusive nature of sales calls, I believe consumers should have the right to ban these calls entirely.
Again, the current system doesn't work. Large companies like AT&T simply ignore the rules. Small companies simply laugh at them. Only a complete ban, either through technology created by the phone companies or with ALL companies required to access a global list before calling, will help remedy the problem.
And anything less than severe penalties for every violation will only ensure that companies continue to scoff at the rules.
This has become a serious situation because companies won't adhere to self-policing rules. It's time for the government to step in with a coherent plan.