It all sounded too good to be true. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its national do-not-call list, nearly a million of us signed up that first day. Within a month, roughly 30 million people were onboard. After all, who among us wouldn't want to stop all those tele-intrusions? (Let's not waste any time here - if you haven't signed up, just head over to http://donotcall.gov. It's easy, and free.)
Well, the telemarketing industry just doesn't want us to be happy. It began objecting vociferously immediately, arguing that telemarketing is a vital and indispensable part of our economy. That wasn't enough to make us all change our minds, though, so the industry is now suing the FCC.
Here are some of the industry's arguments:
- There are already lots of (smaller) do-not-call lists, so the government doesn't need to get involved.
- The national list will crush the industry, causing the loss of $50 billion in revenue and 40% to 60% of workers, totaling about 2 million jobs.
- The list violates the industry's First Amendment and Equal Protection rights. This is an interesting one. The industry is claiming that it's being discriminated against, since the list does not apply to political, religious, and non-profit calls. One proposed solution is to invite the public to specify which group(s) it doesn't want to hear from, thus possibly expanding the scope of the list to non-profit callers.
According to an AP report, there are about 166 million residential phone numbers in the United States, and more than 147 million cell phone numbers. The FCC has estimated that within a year the registry will sport some 60 million numbers.
At the very least, this lawsuit might end up delaying things, while issues are hashed out in court. Stand by your phone for further developments. To learn more, check out these previous Fool articles on the launch of the registry and on the industry's expected new tactics. And to share your thoughts on all this and see what other Fools think, click on over to our Current Events discussion board or our Motley Fool Take board.