Telemarketers Prepare for Monthly DNC List Scrubs

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A federal rule takes effect Jan. 1 requiring telemarketers to remove national no-call list registrants from their calling lists every 31 days. Telemarketers said they are ready for the switch.

Since the no-call list launched in October 2003, telemarketers have been required to scrub their lists quarterly. In February, President Bush signed an appropriations bill that contained an amendment -- sponsored by Rep. Mark S. Kirk, R-IL -- requiring monthly list scrubbings.

Telemarketers can download updates from the no-call list at no additional cost, the Federal Trade Commission said. Some telemarketers said they have begun monthly no-call scrubbings in anticipation of the new rule.

Jeff Schmitt, scripting and compliance manager at Advanced Data-Comm Inc., Dubuque, IA, said his company has updated its calling lists monthly since fall. Advanced Data-Comm uses an outsourced no-call compliance provider and also employs internal compliance personnel to monitor the scrubbing.

Having an outsourced compliance provider makes it easier to keep up with no-call updates, Schmitt said. Advanced Data-Comm handles list scrubbing for its clients, each of whom must get their own registration number for accessing the no-call list, and cleans their lists on a rolling basis, ensuring that each client is up to date.

"We have taken the responsibility of doing it on behalf of our clients," he said. "By centralizing the authority, it does make it a lot easier."

Joan Mullen, vice president of special projects for ORC Pro-Tel, Lansing, IL, said her company handles no-call updates internally. ORC Pro-Tel has an automated system that updates its no-call records overnight, a process that takes a few hours and produces a report in the morning showing how many names were scrubbed out of the list, she said.

Mullen said ORC Pro-Tel has scrubbed monthly for "a long time" and that she knows of teleservices firms that scrub every other week. A minor concern is that the increased frequency of scrubbings will mean that names get removed more rapidly from calling lists, though how that will affect the size of calling lists is uncertain, she said.

There are 81 million telephone numbers registered to the no-call list. An "urban legend" e-mail falsely warning recipients that their cell phone numbers soon would be available to telemarketers via a wireless number directory recently sparked a rise in registrations to the list.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing for DM To keep up with the latest telemarketing news subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter DM News Daily by visiting


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