Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
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.
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.
Even if you signed up for DNC list, FTC rules allow companies that claim an “established business relationship” (EBR) to still call you. You have an EBR, the FTC says, if you purchased something within the previous 18 months or even inquired about a product or service within the previous three months. With a claimed EBR, a company can still call you, but the FTC did not say the company could leave a prerecorded message. And, the FTC rules still allow a percentage of “dead air,” or abandoned, calls.
In November 2004, the FTC announced a proposal to grant a telemarketing industry petition to allow prerecorded messages for sales calls based on an EBR. The PRC, joined by the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN), filed comments strongly opposing this move. (www.privacyrights.org/ar/FTC-TSREBR.htm )
Just recently in October 2006, the FTC issued another request for comment saying it had decided against allowing prerecorded messages for established clients. The agency indicated it was strongly swayed by comments from over 13,000 consumers and consumer advocates.
The FTC is again asking the public to weigh in with opinions on prerecorded messages and “dead air” calls. Specifically, the FTC is asking for comments, among other things, on whether it should include an explicit prohibition on prerecorded telemarketing calls. The agency also wants to know if a “reasonable” consumer would consider prerecorded telemarketing sales calls abusive to privacy rights. And, the latest proposal still allows a percentage of sales calls to be abandoned calls..
If you agree with us that consumers should not be subject to prerecorded sales calls or abandoned calls, you can send the FTC a sample letter, available at: www.privacyrights.org/ar/FTCprerecletter.htm  . The deadline is coming right up, December 18.
To read the entire proposal, along with questions on specific issues, go to www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/10/fyi0662.htm  . For more information on the DNC Registry and to register your telephone numbers, see the FTC’s site at, www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/dncalrt.htm  .