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FTC's Beales: Compliance 'Good' as No-Call List Nears 60M Numbers

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission's no-call registry is nearing 60 million phone numbers, according to J. Howard Beales III, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, who spoke to attendees at the Direct Marketing Association's 2004 Government Affairs Conference here.

Beales also said the FTC has around 300,000 complaints that have entered the system, “and that works out to about one complaint for every 300 numbers on the list, and I think that is remarkably good [in terms of] compliance,” he said.

“It's a very small number of companies where there is a significant incidence of complaints,” he said.

Beales also said that the FTC is working on enforcement actions, and “you will see our first enforcement actions very shortly.”

The problems the FTC has seen most commonly are in “the less-legitimate sectors of the telemarketing industry,” he said. There have been many complaints about nonprofits, and the number of companies filing for not-for-profit status has risen sharply since the implementation of the no-call list.

Beales said the FTC would submit a report to Congress on June 16 about a do-not-e-mail registry under the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act. Congress also required the FTC to devise a plan and timetable on how to implement a do-not-e-mail registry.

Though Beales didn't say what would be in the FTC's report, he said “it's no secret that we've been concerned about the enforceability of a do-not-e-mail registry from the beginning. It is a concern that we will address with as much detail as possible in the recommendation that we make to Congress.”

Beales also said the FTC is spending much time and effort “on rulemakings implementing the amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

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