DMA Will Include State No-Call Lists in TPS

The Direct Marketing Association has announced a plan to include state do-not-call lists in the Telephone Preference Service, the DMA-maintained list of people who do not wish telemarketing calls.

There are 22 states that have passed legislation calling for DNC lists. Most other states have bills pending or have considered DNC laws already this year.

Telemarketers have complained that the growing number of state DNC lists makes compliance difficult. Packaging the state lists with the Telephone Preference Service, which already contains the names of approximately 4.5 million consumers, is the DMA's effort to address this concern.

“It's always been a good business practice to know who doesn't want to be called,” said Louis Mastria, DMA spokesman. “This makes it easier for our folks to know who has said, 'Please, don't call me.'”

But the change might raise some contentious issues.

Most states charge telemarketers fees for obtaining state DNC lists and use the money to fund list maintenance. Many insist that telemarketers buy the lists directly from them and not share them with third parties.

In January, the New York Consumer Protection Board, which maintains the state's DNC list, issued a warning that telemarketers who call into the state must buy the state list. The rule applies even if telemarketers use calling lists that have had names registered for the New York DNC list removed in advance.

The DMA has yet to announce technical details of the plan that would address this issue, Mastria said. A full announcement is planned before the end of the month.

Some for-profit companies, including some DMA members, provide state DNC list compliance services to telemarketers.

Alison Garfinkle, president of Call Compliance Inc., Glen Cove, NY, declined to comment about the DMA's initiative. “We do not compete with the DMA,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Gryphon Networks, Norwood, MA, said her company only manages DNC lists for clients and does not provide state DNC lists directly. The clients must buy state DNC lists themselves and provide them to Gryphon for management, she said.

“We're just trying to provide a one-stop shopping service,” Mastria said. “There are other services these guys provide that we're not going to get into.”

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