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Telemarketing Advocacy Just Doesn't Ring True

October 08, 2003

Re "There's No Call to Celebrate the Telemarketer Registry," Commentary, Oct. 5: I have to disagree with Jeffrey Milberg. If I were a telemarketer, I would be delighted to have a list of 50 million people who did not want to be called and therefore were not likely to buy. I could thus devote my resources to the 75% of the people who had not registered and were presumably more likely to buy my product. This would obviously make my callers much more effective. Far from the registry causing massive layoffs, I would have to hire more people, to check my calling list against the "do-not-call" list. That would be cheaper than risking the $11,000-per-call fine for calling someone on the list.

I, for one, would never buy anything from a stranger, sight unseen, and then give the person financial information (credit card numbers, etc.) to complete the purchase.

Robert Dean

Thousand Oaks

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Milberg's comments about how wonderful buying by phone is and how people are so pleased with the experience are irrelevant here. The national do-not-call registry is voluntary, and the millions who have signed up simply don't want this "wonderful" experience.

I've also found that the threat of massive job loss is standard rhetoric when a business model is threatened. I am wondering how many of these same jobs the telemarketing industry would willingly export overseas to cut labor costs.

Glen Kaltenbrun

Santa Barbara

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Milberg argues that many people like to buy by phone, and that's why telemarketing is such a successful business. But what about people who don't like to buy by phone, such as me? I make it a point to boycott companies that call because I find it so obnoxious and intrusive to get those calls. And, of course, I registered for the do-not-call list.

The registry is a favor to those in the telemarketing industry: It will prevent them from wasting their time calling people like me, people who will never buy anything from a telemarketer.

Alex Murray

Altadena

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Re "The Judge Made a Bad Call," Commentary, Oct. 1: Akhil Reed Amar was correct to fault the U.S. District Court's decision protecting telemarketers on 1st Amendment grounds. The 1st Amendment grants freedom of speech, but as far as I am aware, never the venue to do so (beyond, perhaps, the public square). Nor does it allow the potential listener to be accosted or coerced to pay for the means of that speech. Speakers, whether charitable, political or commercial, can harangue me to their hearts' content from the street corner but they cannot break into my home to do so, nor can they force me to pay for their bullhorns.

Michael Lawler

Los Angeles

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