DMA Will Establish Teleservices Ethics Committee

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The Direct Marketing Association will form a watchdog committee with the goal of reducing unethical telemarketing activities, the trade organization said yesterday.

Dubbed the Teleservices Ethics Operating Committee, the panel will review cases of alleged violations of the DMA's teleservices ethics guidelines. The committee also will be responsible for reviewing the DMA's guidelines with regard to telemarketing and privacy and to recommend changes as it sees fit.

A company found to be in violation of the guidelines can be penalized with censure, suspension or expulsion from membership in the DMA. The DMA said it would make decisions on such cases publicly available.

The telemarketing ethics committee will be composed of a chairperson and at least six members, who will serve three-year terms. Those interested in nominating members may e-mail

The DMA's announcement comes a day after the Federal Trade Commission revealed its proposal to create a national do-not-call list. Both the DMA and the American Teleservices Association have stated that they will not support all of the FTC's proposals.

In a separate statement, the ATA said the FTC's plan to create a national DNC list would complicate telemarketing regulations rather than simplify them. In particular, the ATA criticized the FTC's plan for failing to deal with issues of pre-emption over existing state DNC lists, as well as failing to provide traditional exemptions to calls made to existing customers from the DNC list.

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