|Received:||11/27/2004 8:23:17 PM|
|Subject:||Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 310|
Comments:I am writing in opposition of the proposed rule making regarding Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales (Docket ID: RIN 3084-0098). For telephone numbers on the FTC maintained Do Not Call registry, there should be absolutely no contact from any organization regardless of type (commercial, charitable and political included). The sole exception to this standard should be where the owner of the telephone number has specifically, intentionally and knowingly (double opt-in type standard) requested contact by telephone. All “push” methods for delivering marketing materials are invasive to some extent, particularly when directed to personal as opposed to business contact methods. The push methods that come immediately to mind include postal mailings, electronic mailings, and telephone (telemarketing). Postal mailings are self limiting due to the costs involved. Marketers will be looking for a higher percentage of responses from postal mailings due to that cost. This limitation leaves us with a low incidence of bulk postal mailings, which is fairly quickly sorted at the leisure of the recipient. Electronic mailings are insidious but I’ll not dwell on them here. The major problem with electronic mailings is the sender to recipient cost ratio, almost the entire cost of the message is borne by the recipient, making this form of mass marketing very cost effective even at very miniscule response rates. However, there are a plethora of methods for handling bulk electronic mail that don’t require changes in habits, and any that get through can (again) be handled at leisure. In contrast, telephone marketing is the most immediately and annoyingly invasive. We are conditioned to answer the phone, and in many cases are required to change habits to avoid telemarketing calls. My wife refuses to answer the phone if she does not immediately recognize the caller via caller ID. In my parents’ case, they have one of those telezapper type devices, which are great for reducing telemarketing calls but is very annoying for legitimate callers. While I am sure there are telemarketing organizations out there that will be very scrupulous with how they handle recorded calling, allowing the reduction of cost associated with a live operator will remove a critical business (cost) control that keeps telemarketing from being misused more than it already is. Further, recorded telemarketing makes it more difficult to track down the organization responsible (even with the FTC/FCC mandated rules around recorded telemarketing). From a viscerally annoying standpoint, a recording comes across as condescending. About on par with a recorded message is having a call abandoned. Were I to discover any sales organization was responsible for abandoning a marketing telephone call to me; they would instantly lose any opportunity for future business from me and anyone else I could persuade. Frankly, I’m amazed that the Direct Marketing Association, who has strived so long and hard in an uphill battle to differentiate “legitimate” electronic mail mass marketing from SPAM, would be willing to support this change which would result in the further marginalizing of telephone marketing. Telemarketing already has a public relations problem due in large part to scams and the plethora of quasi legitimate solicitations for police and firefighter’s benevolent/charitable organizations.