It has been almost five years since the Federal Trade Commission inaugurated its Do Not Call Registry. To date, more than 140 million phone numbers have been registered with the DNCR. The life of the sign-up was five years. Now, it is time for many people to once again consider whether they want their phone number to be on the list.
June 2008 marks the five-year anniversary of the DNCR’s implementation, according to Steve Brubaker, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs at InfoCision Management Corp.
Smart Business spoke with Brubaker about the DNCR and its various options.
What actually happens in 2008 with DNCR?
When the FTC created the DNCR, it came with the stipulation that all numbers added to the list would stay on it for a period of five years from the date the number was added. In June 2008, the first wave of phone numbers added to the registry will begin to come off. Those people who want their numbers to remain on the list will need to re-register.
Do you expect everyone who was on the list to opt out again?
We certainly expect that a high percentage will opt out again, but I think it’s likely that some people will decide not to because they want to know what offers are out there. When targeted to the proper audience, telemarketing is extremely beneficial for consumers who want to stay in the loop regarding the products and services they may need.
Is it the teleservice company’s responsibility to assure DNCR numbers are not called or the client’s?
As a third-party vendor, it is the teleser-vice company’s responsibility to be compliant with the DNCR and all other state and federal regulations. We take it upon ourselves to make sure each program meets compliance standards relative to the client’s industry and the consumers we call. We have a dedicated compliance team that stays on top of the latest compliance issues and updates our internal systems regularly to account for any changes in laws and regulations.
What if a number was registered three years ago? Must it be re-entered now?
No. Each number that is entered into the DNCR will stay on the list for a full five years from the date it is registered.
What happens if I do not sign up my business number? Will we be bombarded with calls?
Business-to-business calls are exempt from the DNCR, so entering your business number onto the list will have a minimal impact on the amount of solicitation calls your business receives.
What about cell phone numbers?
You may register your cell number, just like you would your landline phone. However, the Federal Communications Commission restricts telemarketers from using automated systems to call cell phones, and nearly all teleservices firms use computerized dialers. The only way you should receive calls on your cell phone is if you have an established business relationship with an organization and have given them specific permission to call your cell phone number.
Are there certain organizations that are not bound by DNCR?
Political and nonprofit organizations as well as surveyors are exempt from DNCR restrictions. In addition, any organization with which you have an established business relationship is permitted to call you for a period of 18 months since your last purchase or use of its service.
Is there any other pending legislation that would affect the direct marketing industry?
Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania has introduced legislation to make registration on the DNCR permanent. We agree with the FTC’s five-year renewal legislation. Lydia Barnes, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated the FTC’s position in a recent interview with the Associated Press: ‘Just like a regular person who needs to clean out their address book every so often, the Commission felt that was something that was important to do with the registry. It was so easy for people to sign up in the first instance. It will be just as easy for them to re-up.’
Another issue is that more states are beginning to look at creating a do-not-mail registry, which would keep companies from sending consumers solicitations using traditional mail. If implemented, a national do-not-mail registry would have an extremely negative impact on the economy. Direct mail, properly targeted, is a great tool for both marketers and consumers, and stimulates economic growth.
STEVE BRUBAKER is senior vice president for Corporate Affairs at InfoCision Management Corp. Reach him at (330) 670-5156 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In business for 25 years, Info-Cision Management Corporation is the second largest privately held teleservices company and a leading provider of customer care services, commercial sales and marketing for a variety of Fortune 100 companies and smaller businesses. InfoCision is also a leader of inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. InfoCision operates 32 call centers at 13 locations throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more information, visit www.infocision.com.