by Mike Masnick

Why The Do Not Call List May Not Work

from the prior-business-relationship... dept

Peter Lewis over at is pointing out what might be the biggest loophole in the new federal "Do Not Call" list. First he lists all the various organizations that are exempted from the list. So, while you might think you're free from telemarketers, you're still open to receive calls from telephone companies, airlines, banks, insurance companies, charities, market research surveys, and (as discussed previously) politicians (for whom, it appears, no laws actually apply). That's quite a long list. How long until most telemarketers have some element of one of these categories? I can just see every telemarketer starting off with a "survey". More problematic, though, is the somewhat ambiguous "prior business relationship" loophole. As Lewis points out, companies receive your phone number within 24 hours, but don't need to remove it from their call list for 3 months. In other words, they have 3 months with which to do everything in their power to establish a "prior business relationship" with you. Of course, knowing how some of these guys work, they'll say that the fact that you (or your voicemail/answering machine) answered the phone when they called now constitutes a prior business relationship. I'll be interested to hear any stories about whether or not anyone who signed up for the list discovers that they're getting more calls in the time leading up to when the telemarketers need to honor their requests. Update: According to plenty of people the guy at Fortune is very very wrong about the various exemptions.

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  • identicon
    Anonymoose Cow-ard, 1 Jul 2003 @ 2:50pm

    No Subject Given

    The FTC (which maintains the Do Not Call list), didn't have the authority to enforce restrictions on inter-state calls, the FCC decided to add their authority to police calls originating from outside the callee's state...

    "The FCC voted 5-0 Thursday to add its authority to the do-not-call list and to plug holes in its protections. The registry will now also block telemarketers from industries whose calls the FCC regulates, including airlines, banks and telephone companies.

    The FCC action also covers faxes and calls made from within a state -- the FTC could only police interstate calls."


    "Q: What about telephone surveys?

    A: If the call is really for the sole purpose of conducting a survey, it is not covered. Only telemarketing calls are covered that is, calls that solicit sales of goods or services. Callers purporting to take a survey, but also offering to sell goods or services, must comply with the National Do Not Call Registry."

    Callers purporting to take a survey and then attempt to sell you something are still susceptible to the 11,000 per call fine.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Flatulent Monkey, 1 Jul 2003 @ 5:38pm

    Why The Do Not Call List May Not Work

    And what is to prevent the use of the do not call list by offshore companies?

    I can see a booming business where sham companies are set up in the U.S. to obtain the list and then they turn around and sell the list to telemarketers in some Caribbean country.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dave, 1 Jul 2003 @ 5:53pm

    No Subject Given

    Some phone companies allow you to block all calls from "private" phone numbers... meaning if someone is calling you and blocking your caller id from reading the info, the call doesn't go through. Being that most telemarketing calls block their info and number, that would cut down on a great deal of telemarketers. And those that do get through, and you're on the Do Not Call list, well now you have their name and number.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob Dole, 2 Jul 2003 @ 8:24am

    Delete/modify this 100% wrong story

    You really should take this story down, or at least modify it, because it's simply not true -- as the first commenter outlined. FTC regulates only interstate commerce. FCC regulates anything that uses a telephone. The complete protection didn't happen until FCC voted on their rules last week.

    FCC info proving this article is bogus

    International calls are covered, it's just hard to enforce it if a company is located completely off-shore. A U.S. based company is not going to be able to use this method, because the FCC can fine them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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