No-Call List Is Here to Stay

All court challenges against the national no-call list have been exhausted, which means that the registry is indoctrinated into our society forever. In a generation, people will look back and wistfully tell their grandchildren, “Why, I remember when the telephone used to ring 12, 16 times during dinner from those pesky telemarketers.” Then one of the grandchildren will ask, “Grandpa, what’s a telephone?”

The American Teleservices Association wanted the Supreme Court to hear the case, but the court denied the request. Now its new motto is cooperation, and the ATA officially unveiled its plan to create a self-regulatory organization at its annual conference in Miami Beach last week. While there, outgoing chairwoman Lisa DeFalco warned that the industry must create new standards so the government doesn’t regulate inbound into the same nightmare it did to outbound. Lawmakers and regulators are already trying to chip away at existing business relationships and other exemptions to the no-call list. For more on that, turn to pages 1-2 for our special report on the industry one year later.

I still find it ironic to read the many newspaper editorials about how citizens now can have their peace and quiet, especially since the Newspaper Association of America fought long and hard (and lost) to keep newspapers’ circulation departments exempt from the list.

In the end, DeFalco said the challenge was worth the effort and money spent because it united the telemarketing industry. With outsourcing a topic in this year’s election debate, she said the ATA found a surprising amount of sympathy from lawmakers who wanted to protect teleservices jobs in their districts but felt political pressure to support the registry. The ATA is following the Direct Marketing Association’s lead from a year ago, when it heard the public outcry and told its members to abide by the list and start working with regulators.

Speaking of the DMA, senior editor Brian Morrissey and I tracked down new president/CEO cat last week’s “Night of the Media Heavyweights.” Look for Greco to introduce himself to the masses at next week’s fall conference and to offer his views on the industry. Besides postal reform, he told us high on his list is the need for marketers to rebuild trust with consumers. This is something that everyone needs to get behind, and people can’t stick their heads in the sand any longer. If you need convincing, just ask any telemarketer what he or she should have done differently years ago.

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