The traffic cop of the telemarketing industry, the National Do Not Call Registry (NDNCR), is suffering from both abuse and neglect, according to a recent report from the Associated Press. Here are the two headlines:
- Complaints are up sharply regarding phone calls that should have been blocked by the NDNCR. The biggest culprit appears to be robocalls flogging products as diverse as credit cards and window replacements. Robocall complaints rose from 65,000 in October 2010 to over 212,000 last April. General complaints climbed from 71,000 to 182,000 over the same period.
- Subscriptions to the NDNCR are down, from 65,000 marketers in 2007 to only 34,000 last year. Telemarketers must buy a Subscription Account Number to access the NDNCR for each area code they plan to call. With few exceptions, it is illegal to place marketing phone calls without first buying access from the Federal Trade Commission.
What’s going on? Is it an erosion of ethics? We want you to know that any leads we buy from our customers at SellLeads.tv are always verified against the NDNCR and we will not use any names that are on the NDNCR. A substantial portion of our budget goes to removing potential callees who are on the DNC registry.
The rules state that telemarketers must check their leads against the NDNCR every 31 days. While we of course check the Registry immediately before any potential purchase or sale, we can’t speak for the practices of some of our competitors. The AP report gave an example that ran shivers down our spine. A resident of Shawnee, Kansas, named Robert Madison, has been on the NDNCR for several years, but is assaulted daily by a recording from “Ann” offering to lower his interest rates. He has spoken with the company and insisted he be removed from their call list. He is met with a combative attitude. In disgust, Madison has started filing FTC complaints, but so far, to no avail.
We think Madison is doing the right thing, and at the very least, you should just hang up if you receive an unwanted robocall. But remember, political, charitable and informational robocalls are not banned. There are currently about 209 million phone numbers on the ten-year-old NDNCR. Compare that with only 84 million residential land lines and an unspecified number of cellphones. The bottom line, only deal with honest list brokers who faithfully observe the NDNCR rules – anything else is unethical.