California Do-Not-Call Registry Is Merging with the Federal List

In 2002, the California Legislature mandated that the state's Attorney General (AG) establish a statewide do-not-call list. It was to be operational by April 1, 2003. But in December 2002, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would establish a national do-not-call list that would encompass all of the states. Rather than duplicate efforts and confuse consumers, the California AG's office instead joined with the FTC in order to merge the state's efforts with the federal list. The federal list will not be activated until October 2003. Here's how this has all transpired and what it means for you:

Consumers on the Do Not Call Registry Allege Telemarketing Calls by Mortgage Concepts

Consumers in Southern California say they have been receiving calls from a company called Mortgage Concepts even though they are on the National Do Not Call Registry. The pre-recorded outbound sales calls ask consumers to push a number on their phone if they are the homeowner. They are then asked additional questions such as whether they are in the market to refinance their mortgage and are told a representative from Mortgage Concepts will call them back. When a representative does call them back, the company does not disclose information about their whereabouts.

Caller ID: The Case for Consumer Education

The introduction of Caller ID to California has been an enlightening study in what happens when consumers are given adequate information to make meaningful decisions about safeguarding their privacy. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has mandated that the local phone companies educate consumers about the privacy implications of Caller ID. The CPUC has also required that the phone companies make both Complete and Selective Blocking available to consumers at no charge (called Per Line and Per Call Blocking in other states).

Do Not Call Registry is "Fully Up and Running": Updates on Court Challenges and Enforcement Actions

Court challenges to the National Do Not Call Registry were thrown out about by the 10th Circuit District Court, upholding the ability for consumers to sign up for the Registry. While being challenged, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was given permission to begin enforcing the registry by the Tenth Circuit Court of appeals on October 7, 2003. Telemarketers can begin accessing the Registry on October 10th and have seven days to scrub their calling lists of those numbers.

Keeping Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) Private: Comments to the FCC

Consumers expect that their telephone calling records will remain private and unavailable to third parties without the customer's knowledge and authorization. Yet, it is clear that this expectation is unrealistic, evidenced by the findings in the Petition for Rulemaking submitted to the Commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).3

EPIC's Petition as well as recent news reports, state and federal legislative proposals, and government lawsuits against data brokers all point to a disturbing situation: Not only are current safeguards for customer calling records inadequate, but those that exist are being blatantly ignored.

Comments to the Federal Trade Commission: Prerecorded Telemarketing Calls to Existing Business Customers (EBR)

For years intrusive, privacy invasive telemarketing calls have been a major source of consumer outrage.  Calls made by so-called “predictive” dialers -- automatic dialing that allows a telemarketer to call multiple households at one time -- have been a significant consumer complaint. Such calls are intrusive, invade the privacy of one’s home, and result in great annoyance when one races to answer the phone to find only dead air or a hang-up on the other end of the line. Predicative dialer calls are particularly troublesome and potentially dangerous for the elderly and the disabled.

Prerecorded Telemarketing Calls: The Need for Industry Reform

VMBC petitioned the Commission to amend the TSR to allow prerecorded telemarketing calls to consumers when the caller has a claimed business relation. If accepted, an EBR exception for prerecorded sales calls would have created a major loophole, opening the door for a dramatic increase in unwanted calls to consumers who had placed their telephone numbers on the national Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry.

Contact the FTC: Speak Out about Pre-Recorded Telemarketing Calls

Did you put your telephone number on the national Do-Not-Call Registry (DNC), but still get sales calls from companies you’ve never heard of? Quite likely many unwanted sales calls you get today are not made by a live person. Instead many companies use auto-dialers, programmed to start a recorded message the minute you answer the phone. But, the calls that probably really get your dander up are the “dead air” calls, when you run to catch the phone but are met with silence.


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