Right to free speech? The Direct Marketing Association feels that making phone calls to offer people products and pressure them into donations despite their explicitly-stated preference against such calls is within their right to free speech?!? That’s just unbelievable. I also love that part of the DMA’s argument is that the already-existent state do-not-call registries “provide enough protection” to consumers, an argument which naturally begs the question: how does a national do-not-call registry violate a telemarketer’s right to free speech, yet a state one doesn’t? (Are states actually allowed to abridge the most basic of American rights?)

It really shouldn’t come as so much of a surprise that the DMA is attempting to ground its annoying-as-all-hell business practice in the Bill of Rights; after all, his is an industry that already has managed to receive exemptions from caller ID requirements, has started to use prerecorded sales pitches despite Federal laws prohibiting this, and which actually charges consumers for the privilege of using the web to request inclusion on its own do-not-call and do-not-mail lists. I’d love to see a day when unsolicited calls are banned outright.


A couple of years ago I opted out through the DMA’s own website (http://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offtelephonedave) and, surprisingly, I haven’t received a single unsolicited call since. (It takes a few weeks to it to start working; but the flood of calls I was getting turned into a trickle, and then dried up completely)

Given the apparent effectiveness of that stupid industry’s own policing, then, I have to think that the flurry of new legislation is both late in the game and wholly dupliciative of private sector controls. (I’m a cynic so I acknowledge that the private solution was probably not altruistic but in response to threats by the FTC etc. to crack down.)

In any event, can I interest you in switching your long distance carrier?

• Posted by: Steve Riden on Jan 31, 2003, 9:30 AM

Steve, you paid those shysters the $5? Why not just mail it in the free way?

• Posted by: Jason on Jan 31, 2003, 12:41 PM
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