DMA Contemplating All-Inclusive DNC List

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TAMPA, FL -- The Direct Marketing Association may create a privately held do-not-call list that combines its own Telephone Preference Service list with the DNC lists of individual states, the DMA's chief legislative expert said yesterday.

Such a list could help telemarketers confused by the ever-growing number of states that are keeping their own DNC lists, Jerry Cerasale, DMA senior vice president of government affairs, told attendees of the DMA Telephone Marketing conference yesterday. Nineteen states operate or plan to operate DNC lists, including six states that passed DNC list bills this year.

"We stopped 17 bills this year," Cerasale said. "But quite a few others did get through."

To help members battle the confusion, the DMA could buy all the available state DNC lists, incorporate them into the TPS list, then act as a service provider to scrub its members' lists, Cerasale said.

The DMA does not want to compete with its own members that may offer similar services, Cerasale said. But the fight against state DNC lists has been a losing battle, and the DMA is hard-pressed to find alternatives for its members that use outbound business-to-consumer telemarketing.

"We're just trying to think about what we can do to assist here," Cerasale said, "because we can see it suddenly has become a burden."

However, there are some cloudy legal issues that could block the creation of an overarching DNC list. Audience members pointed out that some state laws are murky on whether telemarketing agencies that buy DNC lists can legally share them with business partners.

In addition to DNC lists, some states are pushing laws requiring telemarketers that use predictive dialers to have 0 percent call abandonment rates. Such a law would effectively ban predictive dialers.

A proposal in California was defeated last year but has resurfaced in that pivotal state this year, Cerasale said.

"We'll see what happens in California," Cerasale said. "If that falls, we're going to be seeing more and more of them."

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