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Name that telemarketer

Good news – telemarketers can no longer obscure their identities via blocking Caller ID.

Telemarketing firms must begin complying with new federal rules that require them to display their name and a phone number where they can be reached.

The Federal Trade Commission regulations were set up as part of the national do-not-call registry, which prohibits unwanted pitches from some telemarketers.

More than 56 million numbers are now on that list, which took effect in October amid protests from the industry.

Calls from telemarketers frequently show up on Caller ID as “unavailable” or “blocked call” and do not include a call-back number.

Now, every solicitation must transmit the name of the seller or company making the call, plus a number that will be answered during normal business hours so the consumer can contact the business and request not to be called again.

Telemarketers continue to fight the constitutionality of the federal no-call list in court, saying it violates free-speech rights.

But the industry backs the Caller ID rule.

“We felt it would go a long way toward helping improve trust and use of telemarketing among consumers,” Louis Mastria, a spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association, told the Associated Press. “It gives consumers the trump card: If you don’t want to do business with this guy, you don’t have to.”

Similar rules already exist in Texas, according to a spokesman for the Public Utility Commission, and subject violators to penalties of up to $1,000 per day when not compliant.

Huh. I was all set to pounce on a stupid quote by a DMA lackey about this rule stifling their free expression or something, and the guy goes and crosses me up by agreeing with it. I swear, you just can’t trust these guys. Anyway, cheers all around for this small step forward.

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One Comment

  1. William Hughes says:

    Personally, I’ll stick to screening my calls. If anybody important wants to talk to me, they can leave a message. 😉