*FEDMA Debuts Telemarketing Guidelines
The voluntary guidelines cover all aspects of telemarketing, including waiting time, information requirements when making outbound calls and reasonable hours for when companies can call. Key provisions require marketers to have a documented system so consumers can register their wish not be called.
"This is just the first step of FEDMA's mission to self regulate direct
marketing practices to meet consumer expectations," said new FEDMA chairman Ivan Hodec. "Data protection and online marketing are essential areas for self-regulation."
This is the first year the forum is being held outside Brussels, which is where FEDMA is based. Officials said they are pleased with the turnout, which was estimated at 300. The conference ends Tuesday.
"The call guidelines are different than in the States," said Phillip Cohen, chairman of FEDMA's teleservices council. "The U.S. wants to keep away from any form of regulation. Our primary purpose is to protect the consumer."
Officials have been working on the principles for the past four years. Among the highlights:
* Outbound calls. A marketer must promptly state his name, the organization he represents, the purpose of the call and politely end the call if the prospect doesn't wish to take it.
* Reasonable hours. Calls should not be made during hours that are generally regarded as unreasonable for the recipient.
* Waiting time. A caller should not have to wait an unreasonably long time before his call is handled, except during times that organizations are receiving higher-than-expected call volume.
* Predictive dialing. If a live operator is unavailable to take the call generated by the dialer, the equipment should abandon the call and release the line in not more than one second.
* Do-not-call lists. Marketers must have and respect a documented system so prospects can register their requests not to receive calls from that organization.
* Data protection. When information is collected, prospects must be advised of any nonobvious purposes to which it is intended that the data will be put.
* Telephone preference services. Marketers must clean their lists against the Telephone Preference Service system of the country of the prospect where this is in operation.
* Protection of minors. Where the representative has reasonable grounds to conclude that the prospect is a minor, representatives must not take unfair advantage of the prospect's age and lack of experience.