Letter: Cry Me a River

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So the American Teleservices Association wants to mount a legal challenge to the pending do-not-call regulations from the Federal Trade Commission ("ATA Readies DNC Legal Challenge," Aug. 5). What hypocrites. An industry that has shouted its mantra, "We don't want to call anyone who doesn't want to be called," is complaining that it is going to have to abide by those words.

Not too long ago, I wrote here that the outbound industry was like a patient facing prostate cancer -- with some hard decisions to make about long-term health versus short-term libations. Unfortunately, the industry seems to have chosen the latter. Long-term survival looks grim.

There are ways to survive for those fleet-footed and adaptable enough to make the change. Alas, most of you are not so fleet of foot and will go the way of prostitution and opium dens when society decided those methods of commerce were no longer acceptable, despite that there were people who "liked" them.

The outbound industry looks at a 1 percent positive response ratio and claims "people like these calls or else they wouldn't buy the products." But they ignore the 99 percent of people they offend with their unwanted missives. I wonder whether the results of the Field Research study that showed a combined 0.7 percent of people "like" receiving obscene or crank calls means that the other 99.3 percent should have to accept them?

The same study shows that only 0.1 percent of people like receiving "calls made by sales people to sell you products or services." How does that feel: crank callers are seven times more popular than telemarketers in the public's eyes. Even calls from bill collectors were considered "annoying" by fewer people than telemarketing calls.

Adapt or die. The luxury of a third option is gone -- destroyed at the hands of industry representatives hellbent on resisting change. It is a shame the industry has been so poorly served by its leaders.

Robert Biggerstaff, Consumer privacy activist



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