|Received:||11/29/2004 11:33:19 AM|
|Subject:||Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 310|
Comments:Regarding the proposed amendment allowing automated telemarketing calls: I am strongly opposed to this amendment. Automated calls are by far the most intrusive and offensive form of telemarketing. The existing exceptions are stretched and abused by telemarketers to the point where the DNC list has at best only modest effect. It is very difficult to cause a _live_ caller to add you to a marketer's opt-out list, or to provide the information needed to file a complaint with FTC; this in spite of the requirements of law and regulation. Allowing automated calls will let telemarketers flood consumers with sales calls, claiming an existing business relationship on any grounds or none, with no practical means for the consumer to challenge their propriety or to refuse further calls. . . . That said, I would not object to the rule change provided that the following consumer protections accompanied it: (1) Inclusion of a code in the caller ID signal clearly identifying the incoming call as a solicitation call, allowing the callee to decline to answer if desired. This code must be present for _all_ solicitation calls, regardless of any claimed 'existing relationship' status or other regulatory exemptions. (2) The automated calling equipment must be programmed to call a given telephone number at no less than 48-hour intervals, regardless of whether a given call was answered by a live person, or by a voicemail system, or not at all. (3) The automated calling equipment must be programmed to accept a certain touch-tone code which will cause the callee's telephone number to be added to the marketer's opt-out list. This touch-tone code must be the same for all calling equipment, and the option must be available to the callee from the beginning of the call - the callee must not be required to listen through a long sales pitch before having the ability to opt out. The calling equipment must return a voice acknowledgement to the effect that the callee's number has been placed on the opt-out list. (4) The automated calling equipment must be programmed to deliver, upon the callee pressing a certain touch-tone code, contact information for the telemarketing company, the company on behalf of which the telemarketer is calling, and other information needed for the consumer to file a complaint with FTC if desired. This touch-tone code must be the same for all calling equipment, and the option must be available to the callee from the beginning of the call - the callee must not be required to listen through a long sales pitch before having the ability to use the contact information code. . . . Regarding the proposed amendment allowing averaging of call abandonment over a 30-day period instead of daily: I am strongly opposed to this amendment. There are few things more irritating than to be interrupted on a busy day by a telephone call with no caller on the other end, leaving you to call out 'Hello!' repeatedly until someone picks up the other end, or, more likely, until the call disconnects, only to repeat 5-10 minutes later. In my household, this has become a significant breach of peace and privacy even though the majority of callers have legitimate business. FTC is charged with safeguarding the rights of the consumer; it should consider no rule that encourages organizations to expand and loosen this highly intrusive and discourteous practice.