DMA comes out against proposed FTC telemarketing changes

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New York--The Direct Marketing Association Monday filed comments opposing many of the Federal Trade Commission's proposed changes to the current Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Specifically, the DMA opposes the FTC's proposal to create a national list to restrict telephone solicitations to consumers. The DMA pointed out that the private sector has been self-regulating the industry since 1985 through the DMA's Telephone Preference Service, or TPS, a voluntary registry for direct marketers.

TPS covers about 80% of the industry. By contrast, the FTC's proposed do-not-call list would cover less than 50% of telemarketing calls and would not apply to intrastate calls.

"At best the FTC would provide a marginal incremental benefit at huge taxpayer expense," said H. Robert Wientzen, president-CEO of the DMA. He added that the proposed changes might have adverse effects on the nation's economy.

In 2001, the U.S. telemarketing industry directly and indirectly employed more than 6 million people, while 185 million customers purchased $661 billion in goods and services, or 6% of the gross domestic product.

--Matthew Schwartz

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