Old, rich, married Americans give telemkting the thumbs down

WASHINGTON: Here is a piece of information that should make people in the business of telemarketing goods and services sit up and take notice. Two-thirds of Americans have indicated their willingness to sign up for the newly established "Do not call" registry. This is a single registry which will exempt US households from many types of telemarketing calls.

These results are contained in a survey of 1,000 Americans which was conducted from 27-30 June 2003 by WirthlinWorldwide, a strategic opinion research and consulting firm. A Centre For Media Research report indicates that households that say they are most likely to sign up are older and higher-income Americans as well as those that are married.

Older Americans have had more than their fill of telemarketing calls. 56 per cent have said they definitely will sign up for the new "Do not call" registry. In addition, 83 per cent of America's highest income households, those with more than $60,000 in household income and a disproportionate amount of buying power, indicate they are considering registration (63 per cent definitely will, 20 per cent might).

The survey also confirms that married consumers, especially those with children, are more likely than the average to put their name on the list. Nearly six in ten married consumers say they definitely will sign up, while those that are single or without children are less likely to register. The percentage figure for both is in the thirties.

A related Reuters report states that telemarketing companies will have to pay over $7,000 per client to purchase the new nationwide "do-not-call" list of phone numbers. The US Federal Trade Commission(FTC) set the $7,345 fee that helps fund the do-not-call list. The restrictions on telemarketers starts from 1 October.

From that date the FTC can start taking legal action against companies that make telemarketing calls to registered consumers with penalties of up to $11,000 per call. Meanwhile telemarketers are challenging the list in court. America's Direct Marketing Association has said the list is too expensive and telemarketers should have to pay only once.

The do-not-call registry has grown to nearly 29 million phone numbers since the FTC started letting consumers sign up last month, and the agency expects the list eventually will grow to 60 million numbers. Telemarketers that buy the list will have access to the numbers starting on 1 September says the FTC. They can buy the whole list or pay $25 per area code for part of it.

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