Editorial: Another State, Another DNC List

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Telemarketers received more bad news last week as Pennsylvania became the 21st state to enact a do-not-call list.


The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, extended the deadline for comment on its proposed DNC list and other changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule. It already has 33,000 responses. What, the 32,999 in favor aren't enough?


Among the responses posted at www.FTC.gov is this one from T. Cain: "As a consumer who often purchases from catalogs but NEVER over the phone, I have become so inundated with telemarketing calls that I ... no longer answer my home phone. It receives so many telemartketing (sic) calls that even screening them via caller ID or an answering machine has become impractical. Instead, the phone's ringer volume and the answering machine's volume are both set to zero, and I use the phone for outgoing calls." Pretty drastic, Mr. Cain, but it shows the public's frustration.


Perhaps this is why Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis voiced his support for a national DNC list. Too bad his company wouldn't be subject to the proposed regulations because the FTC lacks jurisdiction over banks and financial services companies. And interesting that Bank of America was involved in a telemarketing lawsuit a few years back with California privacy activist Robert Arkow, who managed to win a $1,000 judgment.


Scrutinizing Shipping Charges


Companies that charge for shipping and handling should read Andrew B. Lustigman's It's the Law column, which addresses a class-action lawsuit challenging Buy.com's flat shipping charge.


Though the case is limited to the company's shipping charge policy specifically, Lustigman urges marketers to check over theirs as well. He's right, especially since so many companies still use S&H as a profit center -- 60 percent of catalogers make money from such charges, according to last year's State of the Catalog Industry Report from the Direct Marketing Association. Make sure your charges reflect real services and the amount charged reflects the real cost of those services.


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