Ring! ring! the unwelcome sound of a sales call at dinnertime
annoys millions of Americans. Last Monday, President George Bush
signed a law to stop such unwanted sales pitches. "Americans
should be free to restrict these calls," he said. But legal
challenges have put full enforcement of the law on hold.
The message to telemarketers is loud and clear: Don't call us!
Those who want to legally block sales calls to their homes say
that they have a right to protect their privacy.
But the telemarketers say that making such calls is protected by
their right to free speech. They have filed lawsuits to stop the
ban, which was set to take effect on October 1.
WE'RE HANGING UP NOW
Last summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created a list
called the National Do Not Call Registry. More than 50 million
people signed up to block telemarketers from calling their
The FTC, an agency created to protect American consumers, says
that the no-call registry would block 80% of sales calls. Calls
on behalf of charities, polling groups and politicians would
still be allowed. If the registry takes effect, the FTC could
fine telemarketers up to $11,000 for dialing a number on the
Telemarketing is big business. Its industry leaders say the ban
will cost hundreds of thousands of people their jobs. The
industry won't give up the right to make sales calls without a
fight. "Unpopular speech," says Robert Corn-Reserve, a lawyer
for telemarketers, "is the only kind of speech that ever needs
October 10, 2003 WORLD REPORT EDITION
|--By Kathryn R. Satterfield
||October 10, 2003 Vol. 9 No. 5