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DMA Opposes DNC Fee Increase

An increase in the fee paid by telemarketers for access to the national no-call list would have a “devastating” effect on the industry, the Direct Marketing Association said in comments filed yesterday with the Federal Trade Commission.

Telemarketing companies already have been forced out of business because of lost business resulting from the no-call registry, the DMA said in its written comments. Increasing the costs of the list could force out even more telemarketers, resulting in fewer subscribers to the list and forcing the FTC to increase the fees again.

“This creates a vicious circle, which benefits no one,” the DMA said. “The telemarketing industry needs and deserves regulatory certainty that the fees it pays to access the DNC List will not be raised by any amount and at any time interval that the FTC determines is proper.”

Though Congress has authorized the FTC to collect up to $18.1 million from telemarketers to support the national no-call program, it is not required to collect the full amount, the DMA said. The FTC could re-evaluate its expenses budgeted for no-call enforcement because the agency itself has said that industry compliance has been good.

The FTC wants to increase the annual fee for no-call registry access from $25 to $45 per area code per year, and from $15 to $25 per area code for access during the second half of the year only. The cap on fees paid by telemarketers downloading 300 area codes or more would increase from $7,375 to $12,375 under the FTC proposal.

According to the FTC, the increase is needed because fewer than expected paying subscribers to the list have materialized. The agency expected 10,000 paying subscribers but so far has fewer than 6,000.

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