DMA presents telemarketers' concerns to Senate committee

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The Direct Marketing Association has testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, addressing several key issues related to the fees that telemarketers have to pay the government to use the National Do Not Call Registry as well as the oversight of telemarketing practices.

Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs at the DMA, gave the testimony.

The no-call registry was set up in October 2003. Since then, the fees that telemarketers have had to pay to use it have gone up 263 percent.

"The bill creates a more permanent solution so telemarketers can plan ahead, and it eliminates the requirement for the FTC to have to go through fee rule-making every year, as it suggests growth in fees should be based on inflation, with no authorization necessary," Cerasale told DM News.

When the registry was under development in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission proposed to cap the maximum annual fee per telemarketer to obtain access to the entire registry at $3,000.

However, by the time the commission made the registry available in 2003, the cost for access was set at $7,375. Less than a year later, the FTC increased fees to $11,000. In 2005, the fees increased to $15,400, and in 2006 to $17,050.

Telemarketers have also expressed concerns about the accuracy of the registry.

Subjective evidence from the DMA members suggests that 30 percent to 40 percent of the telephone numbers on the registry are included incorrectly.

In addition, the association believes there are dropped, wireless and fax numbers included unnecessarily.

"We hope that congress would urge the FTC to clean the list," Cerasale added.

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