Bill Prohibiting Predictive Dialers Referred to California Senate CommitteeA bill that would make it impossible for telemarketers to use predictive dialers in California was referred yesterday to the California Senate Judiciary Committee. It has been scheduled for an Aug. 8 hearing.
The bill, A.B. 2721, calls for telemarketers to have an abandonment rate of 0 percent, meaning they must place a live operator on the line when a consumer answers the phone. Marketers say this would prevent them from using predictive dialers, the computerized systems that dial phone numbers at a preprogrammed pace, whether an agent is available to handle a call or not.
Calls are disconnected if an agent is not available within a predetermined amount of time, usually a few seconds.
The bill passed the California Assembly May 30, where it was amended to permit the use of predictive dialers to further an established relationship. It now calls for a ban only on the use of such dialers when they call numbers at random or generate sequential lists of numbers.
Earlier this year, Kansas passed legislation that would require a live operator to come on the line within five seconds after the call is answered. If an operator is unavailable, the caller would be required to play a recorded message that includes the name of the caller and the company on whose behalf the call was made, but cannot include a promotional message.