|Received:||12/29/2004 12:20:51 PM|
|Organization:||Law Offices of David L. Fiol|
|Subject:||Trade Regulation Rule on Telemarketing Sales|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Request for Comment|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 310|
Comments:As a consumer and an attorney I have two comments with regard to your proposed regulation changes. First, I oppose any effort to make it easier for businesses to call customers, and that is all this regulation does. The problem with dead and dropped calls can be solved with enforcement and proper staffing, not with automation. While the petitioners suggest that the interest in preserving customer goodwill should prevent an abusive number of calls from being placed, they would not be making this request if they did not think that they could increase their automated calling business by selling their service to more clients. Businesses that never considered it cost effective to place calls will reconsider and start doing so. Many if not most US citizens have ongoing or recent relationships with literally dozens of businesses. The harm from relaxing your rules may come not from businesses calling from frequently, but from more businesses calling. The petitioner’s “goodwill” arguments have no persuasive force if that is the case. With regard to requests to be placed on a caller specific do not call list, even a requirement that the information be provided at the beginning of the call is not going to be effective. If a caller does not wish to hear such calls they will have hung up by then. Moreover, I do not believe that offering consumers the option of hanging up and calling an 800 number is an effective one. It only worsens the interruption and imposition on the consumer’s time, and opens up an opportunity to frustrate the consumer if the 800 number is busy or even inoperative. I would suggest that if you do this at all, you modify your rule to require that the phone number be placed on the specific do not call list automatically if the called person hangs up during the first 15 seconds of the call.