EPIC Telemarketing Page | Do-Not-Call Registry Timeline
On Monday, November 10, 2003, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing in a challenge to the Federal Trade and Federal Communication Commissions' Do-Not-Call Registry rules. In anticipation of this hearing, EPIC employed the Freedom of Information Act to obtain complaints made by individuals to the Federal Communications Commission about telemarketing to demonstrate the need for a national Do-Not-Call Registry.
The Federal Communications Commission relied upon 11,000 consumer complaints in its decision to support the creation of a Do-Not-Call Registry. Below, EPIC has scanned in 100 of those complaints and grouped them roughly into three categories: telemarketers who ignore or frustrate individuals' requests to stop calling, telemarketers who become abusive or harass individuals, and the frustration that individuals experience as a result of autodialer and prerecorded voice calls. These complaints demonstrate that the new telemarketing regulations are a rational response to serious abuses in the telemarketing industry.
- Telemarketers who ignore or frustrate individuals' requests to stop calling. Do-Not-Call Complaints File 1 (4.8M PDF) Do-Not-Call Complaints File 2 (2.6M PDF). The Do-Not-Call Registry was adopted because regulations promulgated in 1992 weren't effective in eliminating unwanted telemarketing. Those rules created "company-specific" no-call lists, requiring the individual to opt-out from every single telemarketer. The following five excerpts are from complaints where an individual requested to be placed on the company-specific list, but was ignored or in some cases, mocked.
- Telemarketers who become abusive or harass individuals. Abuse Complaints (1M PDF) In the following three excerpts, telemarketers have been abusive to individuals. Much of this behavior has been facilitated by telemarketing and telephone companies that have employed network systems that either blocked or did not deliver caller ID. In commenting on the FCC and FTC regulations, privacy groups strongly advocated a requirement that telemarketers send accurate called ID every time a call is initiated. The agencies accepted this recommendation, and now telemarketers must transmit Caller ID, which should discourage some of the abusive behavior that appears in the following three excerpts.
- Frustration that individuals experience as a result of autodialer and prerecorded voice calls. Autodialer Complaints (2M PDF) The new telemarketing regulations include provisions on "predictive dialers," computers that make many calls at the same time, and connect the telemarketer to the first person who answers the phone. Call recipients who pick up the phone after the first recipient hear "dead air," or a telephone call with no one on the other end, and are disconnected. In the telemarketing industry, the call recipients who hear dead air are termed "abandoned calls." These complaints demonstrate that predictive dialers were a major source of annoyance and wasted time.
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Last Updated: November 6, 2003
Page URL: http://www.epic.org/privacy/telemarketing/complaints.html