Quotes from 1999

December 26, 1999

"There's always a danger that privacy advocates will go farther. They're adamant about this issue, and they don't feel that enough has been done. But I think that empirical data and common sense will show that most of the new laws enacted in the name of reducing fraud have done nothing but place a greater regulatory burden and more shackles on the legitimate part of the industry that is the fastest-growing and largest direct marketing medium in the world."

Tyler Prochnow, counsel to the American Teleservices Association (formerly the American Telemarketing Association). From Target Marketing Magazine, Privacy Issues Hit Telemarketers First, Harder and With Two Fists, April 1999. Mr. Prochnow can be reached at: tprochnow@lathropgage.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Sorry, Tyler, this one does not wash at all. The article had NOTHING to do with fraud, yet you bring up the fraud issue rather than the true topic -- privacy.
And for the record, "the industry that is the fastest-growing and largest direct marketing medium in the world" is, of course, the internet, not the outbound telenuisance industry. A fine example of the "Great Telemarketing Lie".
Tyler, in our opinion, it's a good thing you're not Pinnocchio. If you were, your nose would be in Jersey by now.

Our thanks to "Robert" for the quote.

December 19, 1999

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to make a telemarketer pay."

C.A.T.S. founder and president Robert Arkow.

C.A.T.S. Comment: This year has set a record for judgments and out of court settlements against the telemarketing industry. Thus we say. . .

Merry Christmas to all,
 and to all a good fight!

December 12, 1999

searching for financial information online and then suddenly have the phone ring with someone trying to sell you stock."

NBC Nightly News correspondent Pete Williams warning us that as the Internet becomes more advanced, marketers watching your cyber travels might use the information to telemarket you. From the story, Privacy Coverage Surges on Television Networks, written by DM News Senior Editor Grant Lukenbill, December 10, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: George Orwell warned us in his novel, "1984", that "Big Brother" would be watching us. Orwell was right -- almost. Instead of Big Brother watching us, it'll be "Big Bother" calling us.

December 5, 1999

"Though we dislike unsolicited and often fraudulent e-mail spam and vociferously complain about it, we keep receiving increasing amounts. . .Sometimes they get me at work, as well, which irritates me even more."

Tracey S. Roth, Managing Editor, C@LL CENTER Solutions (formerly Telemarketing Magazine). From the story Spam Us Not Into Frustration, November 17, 1999. Ms. Roth can be reached at (203) 295-2000 x130 or at: troth@tmcnet.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: We at C.A.T.S. find Ms. Roth's complaints provocative, since for years her magazine has promoted unsolicited telephone calls. The telemarketing industry tells us that their unsolicited calls are "sales opportunities delivered to the consumer." No doubt spammers feel the same way. Enjoy your "sales opportunities", Ms. Roth.

November 28, 1999

"Our research shows that unwanted sales calls or telemarketing calls are intrusive to a business. Thanks to Ameritech Privacy Manager, our business customers can focus on their customers, and important calls still get through."

 Karen Vessely, president of general business services for Ameritech, Chicago. Privacy Manager, a new service offered by Ameritec, asks an unidentified caller who blocks their caller ID to identify themselves. The company can then decide whether to take the call or reject it. From DM News, Ameritech Markets Privacy Manager to Business Customers, November 9, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: If Ameritech's research shows that telemarketing calls are "intrusive to a business," why does Ameritech sell telephone service to the companies that make those intrusive calls?

November 21, 1999

"We know there are more than 3.4 million people out there that receive our mailers who don't give us a response. We want to phone them up and ask them, 'Have you received our mailers?'"

Marco Markin, president and CEO of The Neptune Society, a provider of cremation services and burial at sea. The Neptune Society can be reached toll-free at: (800) 445-3551. From DM News, Cremation Service Turns to Telemarketing, November 10, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: The mantra of the telemarketing industry is: "We don't want to call anyone who does not want to be called." So why are they calling people who clearly rejected their previous mail offer?

For a company that offers burial at sea, they sure missed the boat on this one.

November 14, 1999

"Impress upon [telemarketing] agents that the person asking the questions is the person in control of the direction of the call . . . In order to maintain call control, the sales or customer service agent is the one who should be asking the majority of the questions."

Judy McKee, a well-known call center trainer. You may contact her toll-free at (888) 738-8388, or at www.phonedamentals.com. From the article, "Taking Control of the Call," Teleprofessional Magazine, October 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: As consumers, it is our job to take control of the call from the intrusive telemarketer. We can do this by asking questions such as:

Consumers who take control of the call will emerge as the victor rather than the victim.

November 7, 1999

"We wanted the issue [financial condition of the American Teleservices Association (ATA)] discussed in an open forum, where members could ask questions publicly rather than discuss it through e-mails and post-conference conversations."

Geri Gantman, senior partner with Oetting & Company, discussing their letter to the ATA advising that they are withdrawing their membership because they felt the ATA did not make a full financial disclosure at its convention. From DM News, 'Update: Turmoil at the ATA,' October 25, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: C.A.T.S. has learned that some of the financial issues allegedly not disclosed to ATA's membership at its annual convention were:

If the ATA cannot be honest with its members, how can we expect them to be honest with government officials and consumers?

October 31, 1999

"As APAC [Teleservices] enters its 25th year in 1998, I have never been more positive about what we can accomplish for our clients and our share owners. We are a company that consistently achieves what many believe cannot be achieved. We have a tradition of success, and we continue to expect even more of ourselves. We expect to excel."

Theodore G. Schwartz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of APAC Teleservices Inc., a telemarketing company that makes sales calls to consumers. From APAC's 1997 annual report to its stockholders which was released in April 1998.

C.A.T.S. Comment: One picture is worth a thousand words.

October 24, 1999

"I find this whole thing offensive. I'll think harder before dropping a quarter in the kettle."

C.A.T.S. founder and president Robert Arkow, commenting on the Salvation Army's telephone solicitation practices. The Army instructed telemarketing firm Infocision to pray with prospective donors during the call. From USA Today, "Salvation Army criticized for using praying telemarketers," October 20, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: As we have so often said, do not support those who use offensive marketing practices. The Salvation Army would be better off ringing the bells on their kettles than the bells on our telephones.

October 10, 1999

"It is no secret that the media usually targets the teleservices industry as a consumer foe.  Unfortunately, the media is interested more often in isolated events of fraudulent activity than the larger picture of the industry as an economic success story both nationally and regionally.  We need to get the word out that teleservices is good for America."

Gene Gray is the president of the board of directors of the American Teleservices Association. He is currently a client management vice president at APAC Teleservices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From Call Center Solutions (formerly Telemarketing) Magazine, January 1999 issue. He can be reached at: (800) 822-2722.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Let's get real, Mr. Gray. America's displeasure with the outbound telemarketing industry has nothing to do with the media stories on fraudulent telemarketing.  If the industry is being targeted as a common foe, they have no one to blame but themselves. The public has had enough.  We have to agree with you on one thing, though: Teleservices IS good for America. It brings us all together in a common goal -- to stop the annoying calls.

Please, Mr. Gray, put us on your "Do Not Gall" list.

October 3, 1999

"At the root of this [anti-telemarketing] war is the perception by consumers that outbound calls to consumers are an intrusion, and inbound calls from consumers are a time-consuming ordeal. However, for the teleservices industry to continue to be successful, we must change that perception so consumers see what we provide as a convenience."

Sandra Herman, Director of Marketing, Transcom Corp. From the article "Technology Can Help Win Fight For Customers’ Hearts," Teleservices News, October 1, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: The only perception that needs changing is Ms. Herman's -- and the industry's. Telemarketing calls to consumers are an intrusion.

September 26, 1999

"With the number of products we have, we could easily flood the market with too many messages if we’re not careful. We know that there’s a fine line between the calls being perceived as loyalty-enhancing and a nuisance, and we want to make sure we’re on top of that.”

Lorne Hill, market manager of knowledge management at SaskTel (Saskatchewan Telephone). From the article "Telco Boosts Telemarketing Efficiency With Targeting," Teleservices News, September 6, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: We at C.A.T.S. wonder who perceives an unwanted sales call as 'loyalty-enhancing'. If SaskTel really wanted to enhance customer loyalty, they would not engage in a practice that they know offends most of their customers.

September 19, 1999

"Our agents are trained to listen to what donors [to the Salvation Army] have to say, and to respond to what donors have to say. A lot of times, particularly with lapsed donors, the reason they have stopped being donors is that they have had some kind of hardship. So, if our communicators determine that that is the case, then we go ahead and turn it into a ministry call.”

Nick Stavarz, senior vice president of marketing at InfoCision, a well-known charity telemarketing firm, discussing the current program they are doing for the Salvation Army. Agents, under certain conditions, are instructed to pray with the prospective donors. Mr. Stavarz can be reached at: (330) 670-5151. From Teleservices News, September 3, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: It's nice to see the Salvation Army using a telemarketing company to minister to its donors. When InfoCision's agents call a Salvation Army donor, will they pray with him, or prey on him?

September 12, 1999

"The days of receiving a warm reception on an unexpected call to a consumer are over. In order to thrive in an environment that ranges from indifferent to intolerant, an exceedingly well designed program is essential."

Andrew Wetzler, president of Andrew Wetzler & Associates, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, which specializes in call center consulting and training services. Mr. Wetzler can be reached at: (800) 688-8353. From Teleservices News, August 2, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: If an individual places a call to someone, knowing that the person will likely be annoyed, that individual can be charged with placing annoying calls, a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions. If the public's reaction to unsolicited sales calls ranges from "indifferent to intolerant," then by definition, the telemarketing industry is committing multiple misdemeanors on a mass scale. You have the right to remain silent, Mr. Wetzler. Perhaps your industry should do the same.

September 5, 1999

"It's an administrative nightmare. Soon you'll have 50 state bureaucracies telling you what to do."

Tyler Prochnow, counsel to the American Teleservices Association (formerly the American Telemarketing Association), commenting on the high number of states that have passed or are considering passing telemarketing legislation. From USA Today, August 24, 1999. Mr. Prochnow can be reached at: tprochnow@lathropgage.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: If the telemarketing industry had obeyed the federal laws, there would have been no need for state laws. Instead, the industry hired high-priced attorneys, like Mr. Prochnow, in an attempt to "skirt" the federal laws. If Mr. Prochnow wants to see who is to blame for the recent actions by the states, we at C.A.T.S. suggest he look in a mirror.

August 29, 1999

"As I listen to these [telemarketing] calls, I get the impression it's no wonder people receiving numerous calls each day are getting fed up with telemarketing. Besides the sheer volume of intrusions, the callers typically are impersonal, assumptive, and often impertinent or apparently bored."

Judy McKee is a well-known call center trainer. You can contact her at: (800) 336-3268 or at www.phonedamentals.com. From Teleprofessional Magazine, August 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Keep training 'em, Ms. McKee. As more and more of your "graduates" intrude into our homes, the public will raise an even greater outcry against telemarketing. An intrusion is an intrusion is an intrusion. . .

August 22, 1999

"The [banking] industry's perception is that consumers are sensitive to privacy issues, and banks will be unwilling to risk backlash if they try to preserve the right to make customer lists available to outside marketers.

"The telemarketing industry is not exactly held in the highest regard. We use [telemarketing], but we all know the story we hear about privacy is that 'we hate to get calls at home.' So, there's no sympathy for an industry that is attempting to market products in that fashion."

John Byrne, senior counsel for the American Bankers Association. From Teleservices News, August 2, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Despite the millions of dollars the telemarketing industry spends fighting legislation and litigation, the above statement shows that they have already lost the most important court battle of all. . .the court of public opinion.

August 15, 1999

"I have to chuckle when I hear that legislators and the public are zeroing in on predictive dialing as the new scourge of the industry. Would they rather suffer through a long winded presentation by an ill-prepared telemarketer than deal with a momentary period of silence that leads to the call being disconnected when there isn't a rep available?"

Andrew Wetzler, president of Andrew Wetzler & Associates, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, which specializes in call center consulting and training services. Mr. Wetzler can be reached at: (800) 688-8353. From Teleservices News, August 2, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: The problem with predictive dialing is that after the momentary period of silence followed by the inevitable disconnect, we are then called LATER . . . and STILL must suffer through a long winded presentation by an ill-prepared telemarketer. Here's a better idea, Mr. Wetzler: Why not turn that momentary period of silence into a permanent one?

August 8, 1999

"Only 10 years ago, a colleague of mine actually suggested that the combination of powerful, inexpensive computers coupled with nifty desktop software tools such as scripting, contextual cues, artificial intelligence and powerful database engines would permit a minimum-wage, unskilled worker to perform like a worldclass agent. I am reminded how off the mark this forecast turned out to be every time the phone rings at about 6:45 p.m., when I am about to start dinner. Inevitably, an agent reads (poorly) a sales script in a monotone, nonstop ramble, the only redeeming quality of which is his or her amazing ability to strings words together without apparently breathing for many minutes."

William Durr, a member of Teleprofessional Magazine's editorial board and director of field marketing for Rockwell Electronic Commerce. From Teleprofessional Magazine, July 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Though we agree with Mr. Durr that no one wants their dinner interrupted by the rambling monotone of an "unskilled agent", we at C.A.T.S. wonder. . .does Mr. Durr really believe that listening to a "worldclass agent", as opposed to an unskilled agent, is going to leave our dinners -- or our response -- any less cold?

August 1, 1999

"What's driving this consumer concern is the high volume of calls. People are upset about telemarketers interfering with their precious family and personal time."

Liz Crenshaw, NBC News investigative reporter speaking at the American Teleservices Association convention. From Call Center Magazine, Lawmakers Draw the Line with Telemarketers to Protect Privacy, July 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: For an industry that has no problem sending a message, they sure seem to have a problem getting the message.

July 25, 1999

"It is in our best interest to ban spam. Unsolicited commercial e-mail is damaging the ability of legitimate, ethical marketers to conduct business...Why would any legitimate Internet marketer want to defend the rights of con artists, porn brokers and computer virus disseminators to erode consumer confidence in the very medium that we want to use as a channel to the buying public?"

Ian Oxman, president of ChooseYourMail.com, a Chicago based opt-in e-mail marketing firm. Mr. Oxman can be reached at: oxman@chooseyourmail.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Mr. Oxman asks a good question. Perhaps he should ask the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) the same question. The DMA defends spammers, telemarketers and junk mailers. They can be asked this question at www.the-dma.org.

July 18, 1999

"Our image is more annoying than the 'pesky housefly'. If we don't do something to change it, we may find ourselves legislated out of business."

Donna Bryce, director of Edge Teleservices, Glendale, California. Ms. Bryce, a former reporter for KCBS Television, makes compliance with the law a high priority in her business. From Call Center Magazine, July 1999 issue. Ms. Bryce can be reached at edge@edgeteleservices.com

C.A.T.S. Comment: Thank you, Ms. Bryce. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. It's a sad comment for the industry when pesky houseflies have more prestige than pesky telemarketers. If we could only spray RAID© into our phones...

July 11, 1999

"While it may be unfair to burden an entire industry with legislation that aimed at curbing the poor conduct of a few institutions, the persistent failure of the [banking] industry itself to address abusive conduct creates a fertile seedbed for legislation."

John D. Hawke Jr., Comptroller of the U.S. Currency, warning the banking industry to stop selling customer data to telemarketing firms in exchange for a commission on sales. From DM (Direct Marketing) News, June 11, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Until consumers learn to stop giving out their phone numbers, banks and other institutions will continue to abuse that information. If the bank absolutely insists on a phone number, a quick visit to the "Telemarketing" section of your local Yellow Pages will provide an ample selection.

July 4, 1999

"The irony here is that two [television] shows -- on opposite ends of the demographic spectrum -- both took pot shots at telemarketing in just two days. Portrayals like this only reinforce the bad feelings for an industry that's already an easy target."

Tad Clark, Executive Editor of DM (Direct Marketing) News, commenting on the story lines from "Touched by an Angel" and "Ally McBeal." From DM News, April 12, 1999. A few days later, "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney weighed in on the subject of telemarketing calls, too.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Rather than blame television for reinforcing "the bad feelings for an industry that's already an easy target," perhaps DM News should do a story about the growing anti-telemarketing movement in America. Mr. Clark might then discover that the public's "bad feelings" are caused not by television shows, but by the offensive and invasive practices of an industry out of control.
Frankly, Mr. Clark, your readers deserve better.

June 27, 1999

"One provision of this [Federal Telephone Consumer Protection] Act requires telephone sales associates to maintain a company-specific 'do-not-call' list for telephone solicitations. Circuit City is excluded from this requirement because we have an established relationship with the solicited customers. However, in keeping with our own high standards, Circuit City maintains a 'do not call list'...."

From Circuit City Stores, Inc.'s written "Do Not Call" policy dated December 18, 1995. Circuit City can be reached at: (800) 251-2665 or at: http://www.circuitcity.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Not so fast, Circuit City. By federal law, if a customer tells you never to call again, the "established business relationship" ceases to exist and you MUST put them on a "Do Not Call" list. And speaking of your own "high standards," why did it take you a month to send us a copy of your written "Do Not Call" policy?
Please, Circuit City, put us on your "Do Not Gall" list.

June 20, 1999

"These allegations are false. In today's world, joint ventures and cooperative marketing programs are common practices in bringing benefits to customers."

U.S. Bank spokesman Donn Waage, responding to a lawsuit brought against the bank by Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch. The suit alleges that U. S. Bank provided a telemarketing company with its customers' names, addresses, telephone numbers, gender, marital status, home ownership status, occupation, checking account number, credit card number, Social Security number, birth date, account open date, average account balance, account frequency information, and credit limits. From DM News, June 14, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Bank robbery is also a "common practice". Does that make it right?
With all the consumer information U.S. Bank provides to its telemarketing firm, it's a wonder they still have to ask "How are you tonight?" Don't they already know?
Please, Mr. Waage, put us on your "Do Not Gall" list.

June 13, 1999

"The millions that the [telemarketing] industry purportedly spends to put folks on do-not-call lists would not have been required had the industry not fought against a national do-not-call list, as originally proposed by Congress. It is the industry itself that made the soup it now finds itself in."

Robert Bulmash, president and founder of Private Citizen, Inc. From a letter to the editor of Teleprofessional Magazine, November 1998.

C.A.T.S. Comment: May we suggest that the industry create a "Do-Call" list of consumers who want to be called? Think of the millions of dollars they would save by only having to deal with a one-page list of names.

June 6, 1999

"What we have a problem with right now is every state having a separate ['Do Not Call'] list. Without uniformity you have the administrative nightmare of trying to collect and integrate into a system 50 different lists every three months."

Tyler Prochnow, attorney for the telemarketing industry. From an article entitled 'Capitol Concerns' written by Angela Karr, Teleprofessional Magazine, March 1999. Mr. Prochnow can be reached at: (816) 460-5810 or e-mail at: tprochnow@lathropgage.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Current law requires consumers to deal with over 1500 companies to get on their "Do Not Call" lists. Mr. Prochnow is complaining about having to deal with 50 lists. Seems to us that 50 lists is a lot easier than 1500 lists. Do the math, Tyler.

May 30, 1999

"The reason fewer people are less tolerant of telemarketing calls. . .is because they panic when they receive calls and no one is there."

Melissa Campanelli, a reporter for DM (Direct Marketing) News, reporting on DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen's position on the use of predictive dialers. DM News, May 17, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Is Mr. Wientzen suggesting that if people answer their telephones and, instead of being hung up on, hear a telemarketer's voice on the line, they'll breathe a sigh of relief, sit back, and order twenty of whatever they're selling?
Please, Mr. Wientzen, put us on your "Do Not Gall" list.

May 23, 1999

"I don't think there's a conversation that I've had with a constituent that hasn't said, 'I get a barrage of calls every night. I can't stand it. What are you gonna do about it?'"

California State Senator Elizabeth Figueroa (D-Fremont) talking to reporter Mike Leury for KCRA TV, Channel 3, NBC in Sacramento. Air date: May 3, 1999.

Senator Figueroa has proposed the creation of a statewide "Do Not Call" list (SB 988). Next month, C.A.T.S. founder Robert Arkow will be testifying before the Senate Business and Professions Committee in support of this bill.

C.A.T.S. Comment: We applaud you, Liz, for taking the necessary steps to give Californians the privacy they so desperately want.

May 16, 1999

"Apply to join TeleWatch, an ATA-founded [American Teleservices Association] certification and self-compliance program and become registered as a professional law-complying telemarketer."

Brendan B. Read, reporter for Call Center Magazine, June 1998. During the time Mr. Read wrote this article, Teleprofessional Magazine was secretly running a test of TeleWatch members' compliance with the law. The magazine sent 17 TeleWatch members requests for their "Do Not Call" Policies. Only 6 companies responded as required by law. Call Center Magazine can be reached at www.callcentermagazine.com. Telewatch can be reached at (888) 814-4888 or at telewatch@aol.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment: With so many "professional law-complying" telemarketers out there, we at C.A.T.S. have to wonder why it's still so hard to get a "Do Not Call" policy.

May 9, 1999

"The industry needs to continue to gather data and additional evidence that will support the argument that most of this regulation [by the states] is unnecessary."

Tyler Prochnow, Counsel, American Teleservices Association (formerly the American Telemarketing Association). From Teleservices News, May 6, 1999. Mr. Prochnow can be reached at: (816) 460-5810 or e-mail at: tprochnow@lathropgage.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  It is precisely because telemarketers have, for years, ignored the federal laws, that the states are now starting to regulate the industry. If it's data and evidence Mr. Prochnow wants, we suggest he start with Dateline NBC, Teleprofessional Magazine, the U.S. Congress . . . and the American public.

May 2, 1999

"We have to define the problem. Are consumers complaining about fraud or are they complaining about annoying phone calls and poorly trained teleservices representatives who are rude?"

An unidentified member of the American Teleservices Association (formerly the American Telemarketing Association), on the poor public image of the telemarketing industry. From DM (Direct Marketing) News, "Restrictive Legislation, Industry Image Hot Topics at ATA Legislative Conference," written by Sean Sexton, Senior Reporter, April 27, 1999.

 C.A.T.S. Comment:  In an effort to help the ATA "define the problem," may we suggest all of the above? And don't forget widespread noncompliance of the current laws. Hope this helps. (Duh)

April 25, 1999

"Getting to know your elected officials 'back home' is critical for the future of our industry. Visiting them in their local offices or, better still, extending invitations to them to visit your call center and see your operation are excellent first steps. Meeting with them in their state offices further demonstrates your willingness and determination to 'travel the extra mile' to carry our message to their doorsteps."

Arthur H. Saxon, Telestar Marketing, Inc. From an article entitled "Increased State Legislation - A Call To Action," in Call Center Solutions (formerly Telemarketing Magazine), February 1999. Mr. Saxon can be reached at: (800) 220-3165 Ext. 2665.

 C.A.T.S. Comment:  Why stop at their doorsteps? If the telemarketing industry wants to 'travel the extra mile,' we at C.A.T.S. suggest they phone their elected officials -- preferably at their homes during dinner time.

April 18, 1999

"While some could argue the message is not a valid do-not-call request, telemarketers will most likely heed the request."

Tyler Prochnow, an attorney who represents telemarketers, commenting on U.S. West's "No Solicitation" service which allows consumers to enter up to 25 phone numbers of friends and family members. Calls from undesignated numbers between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. will hear a recording that states, "You have reached a number that does not accept solicitation. If you are a solicitor, please add this number to your do not call list and hang up now. Otherwise, press 1 and stay on the line." From Teleservices News, April 5, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Since most telemarketers use predictive dialers that ignore recorded messages, it is unlikely that they'd even hear the "Do Not Call" list request, much less heed it.

Attorneys who have telemarketers as clients should know this better than anyone else.

April 11, 1999

"Well, I think it's far better to put up with one of life's little annoyances [telemarketing calls] than to have laws and rules and regulations that literally inhibit commercial free speech."

Robert Sherman, spokesperson and attorney for the telemarketing industry, in response to a question by Len Cannon of NBC News. From Dateline NBC, airdate November 15, 1995.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Mr. Sherman is well aware that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), as well as other rules and regulations, do not "inhibit commercial free speech." The telemarketing industry is free to sell us everything from apples to zebras. What TCPA does do is prohibit the delivery of that speech to those who choose not to receive it.

Another of "life's little annoyances" are the high paid Washington lawyers and lobbyists who justify the offensive actions of their clients.

April 4, 1999

"There is going to be a great amount of confusion because people are going to forget what [statewide 'Do Not Call'] list they signed up for. It will probably cause more headaches than it will solve."

Tyler Prochnow, an attorney with Lathrop & Gage, a law firm that specializes in defending the telenusiance industry. From Teleprofessional Magazine, March '99.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Some states have passed (and others are considering) "Do Not Call" list legislation, where residents can place themselves on the list.

By claiming that people will forget which statewide "Do Not Call" list they're on, Mr. Prochnow is suggesting that people won't remember what state they live in.

One has to wonder what 'state' Mr. Prochnow was in when he said this.

March 28, 1999

"We would rather not collect a penny. We would rather be left alone. But if education costs money in this country, we are here to educate the telenuisance industry."

Robert Bulmash, President and Founder of Private Citizen Inc., on the NBC nightly news. Airdate: March 20, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  In the last three years, Private Citizen members have collected over a quarter of a million dollars in settlements and judgment awards. With all that "education", one must ask why the junk call industry has STILL not learned its lesson.

March 21, 1999

"Care must be taken to avoid making the broad interpretation that a company is in violation of the TCPA [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] because it did not respond to a 'test' conducted by an industry publication."

Mary Weyand, former President, Board of Directors, American Telemarketing Association. Ms. Weyand's comments were published in a letter to the editor of Teleservices News, June 8, 1998. Ms. Weyand was responding to the fact that Teleprofessional Magazine ran a test for telemarketer compliance with the law. After mailing requests for "Do Not Call Policies" to 48 telemarketing service bureaus, only 17 responded (a 35% compliance rate). Among the agencies tested were prominent members of the American Telemarketing Association.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Suppose Ms. Weyand was suspected of drunk driving and failed a breath test; would she then argue in court that "Care must be taken to avoid making the broad interpretation that I was driving around drunk because I did not pass a 'test' conducted by a police officer"?
Please, Ms. Weyand, put us on your "Do Not Gall" list.

March 14, 1999

"The [KCBS-TV] Special Assignment Team did ask the American Teleservices Association and the Direct Marketing Association to respond to this story, they both declined. . ."

Drew Griffin, a reporter for KCBS-TV's 'Special Assignment' team in Los Angeles. The story, which aired on February 20 and March 7, 1999, was about a couple that sued the Los Angeles Times and won $540.00 for telemarketing violations. C.A.T.S. founder Robert Arkow was featured on the broadcast. To see the entire story click here

C.A.T.S. Comment: It's a shame telemarketers won't "decline to comment" while we are having dinner.

March 7, 1999

"It [the demise of the telemarketing industry] will happen because we, those upright, legitimate, stalwart members of a professional industry, did not pause long enough in our rush to riches to see what we were doing to our marketplace."

From a speech by Clifford Hurst, president of Career Impact, a firm specializing in customer service. The speech was given at the fall 1998 meeting of the American Telemarketing Association, and reprinted in the November 1998 issue of Teleprofessional Magazine. Mr. Hurst can be contacted at: (207) 646-8399.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Mr. Hurst's viewpoint is correct and refreshing in an industry which claims that government "over-regulation" will lead to its demise. Angry consumers refusing to buy the product or service will be the true demise of the telemarketing industry.

February 28, 1999

"The telenuisance industry is out of control and beyond the law. My dog has a right to be left alone. Why don't I? Why doesn't every American? Why doesn't a grandmother with emphysema have a right not to be bothered by junk phone callers."

Robert Bulmash, President of Private Citizen, Inc., commenting on WLS-TV in Chicago. The program, titled "Leave Me Alone," aired on Sunday, February 14, 1999, and dealt with the uninvited outbound calls from telemarketers.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Mr. Bulmash makes a good point. The reason that telemarketers don't call Mr. Bulmash's dog, Luke, is because they know that Luke will not buy their product or service. Talk about barking up the wrong tree...

Our thanks to Steve Druger for the quote.

February 21, 1999

"Very often the elderly find it very convenient to shop on the telephone because they cannot get out."

Sandy Pernick, a former president of the American Teleservices Association, commenting on WLS-TV in Chicago. The program, titled "Leave Me Alone," aired on Sunday, February 14, and dealt with the uninvited outbound calls from telemarketers. Ms. Pernick claimed that the calls are a valuable service, particularly for the elderly .

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Ms. Pernick is suggesting that elderly people are too helpless to make a phone call for a product or service and thus, must wait for a telemarketer to call them. Anyone who can answer a phone can dial one, as well.

We at C.A.T.S. find this statement offensive to our senior citizens, because it uses them to justify an offensive marketing practice.

Our thanks to Steve Druger for the quote.

February 14, 1999

"The ATA [American Telemarketing Association] also hopes that TeleWatch will ward off future restrictive legislation by proving that the telemarketing industry can govern itself. A TeleWatch member will be one of the 'good guys' that needn't be burdened by laws intended to hurt the bad guys."

Brendan B. Read, reporter for Call Center Magazine, June 1998. During the time Mr. Read wrote this article, Teleprofessional Magazine was secretly running a test of TeleWatch members' compliance with the law. The magazine sent 17 TeleWatch members requests for their "Do Not Call" Policies. Only 6 companies responded as required by law. Call Center Magazine can be reached at www.callcentermagazine.com. Telewatch can be reached at (888) 814-4888 or at telewatch@aol.com.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  The "good guys" needn't worry about being burdened by future laws; they're not even following the current ones. Maybe TeleWatch should give its members white hats, so we can tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys."

February 7, 1999

"How many individuals abruptly hang up the telephone at home when a telemarketing firm is calling? At least half! . . ."Unlike any other method of fundraising, telemarketing invades our most private domain -- our home -- at inconvenient times with mostly unwanted messages. Mail we can toss aside; personal visits we can control, but the telephone rings during dinner, during the Discovery Channel program, during intimate periods."

Steve W. Batson, vice president for university relations at Georgia Southwestern University, Americus, GA. From Teleservices News, January 4, 1999. Mr. Batson goes on to suggest that courteous callers and a pre-notification by mail will overcome this barrier.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  No matter how pleasant the caller, or how advanced the warning, the telephone STILL rings in our most private domain -- our home -- during dinner, during the Discovery Channel program, and during intimate periods.
In short, Mr. Batson...WAKE UP!!!

January 31, 1999

"The 'prior restraint' argument the authors advance, like many other rejected arguments, has its proponents in some ivory towers of academia and law reviews, but it will not find a welcome reception in the vast majority of courtrooms. Indeed, many law review articles still insist that numerous existing court decisions on the TCPA and telemarketing restrictions are wrong. But every Federal appeals court to review these questions has ruled otherwise. These articles make interesting reading and food for thought, but their arguments have ultimately and repeatedly failed in the only place that counts -- in court."

John Doe* commenting in a letter to the editor of Call Center Solutions (formerly Telemarketing) Magazine, December 1998 issue. Mr. Doe's comments were about a previous article in the magazine written by Errol Copilevitz and William Raney of Copilevitz and Canter, P.C., a law firm that works on behalf of outbound telemarketing firms.

*We have used the name John Doe because the person has requested that we now not use his real name due to privacy issues.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Here they go again! The pro-telemarketing attorneys must always resort to "weird" legal theories to defend the offensive and illegal practices of their clients. When John Doe*, an ordinary citizen who is not a lawyer, can blast professionals like Copilevitz and Raney out of the water with such a simple, common sense approach, we at C.A.T.S. question the high fees these top-notch lawyers must command. It seems to us that if the industry continues to support these questionable legal theories, it is simply throwing its money away.

January 24, 1999

"They wake us up in the morning; they interrupt our dinner at night; they force the sick and elderly out of bed; they hound us until we want to rip the telephone right out of the wall."

Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, (D-South Carolina) on introducing SB. 1462, the Automated Telephone Consumer Protection Act on July 11, 1991.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  Its too bad that our current California Senators, Dianne Feinswine and Barbara Boxhead don't feel that way. When we wrote to them over a year ago to investigate lack of FCC enforcement of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), they failed to answer our letters. Could it be because the telemarketing industry helped bankroll their campaigns?

January 17, 1999

"...But I think that a lot of people, instead of hanging up, will start asking to be put on 'Do Not Call' lists and will start asking for the ['Do Not Call'] policies; and if enough people start doing this, the [telemarketing] industry is going to grind to a halt."

Robert Arkow, C.A.T.S. founder, during a CNN Headline News interview. Air date: January 10, 1999.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  We all have the power to stop the nuisance callers. By asking to be put on "Do Not Call" lists and asking for a copy of their "Do Not Call" Policy, we will take the profit out of telemarketing. The more of a telemarketer's time and money we waste, the less likely they will profit by invading our privacy.

January 10, 1999

"In response to these allegations made by privacy advocates, we sent out letters (from a third party) to a more or less random sample of 48 [telemarketing] service agencies, requesting copies of their 'Do Not Call' policies.

"Simply put, the evidence is in, and taken at face value, it does not paint a pretty picture. After over three months, only 17 agencies have responded! . . . Even worse, the non-responders included several of the founders of the new TeleWatch program... a group that has stated publicly that they will voluntarily adhere to a higher standard than that which is required by law!!"

Robert E. Van Voorhis Jr., Editor-in-Chief, Teleprofessional Magazine. From the June 1998 edition. Included in the test were 17 Telewatch members. Only 6 responded to the request for their "Do Not Call Policy", a 35 % compliance rate.

C.A.T.S. Comment:  With such widespread non-compliance with the Federal Regulations by members of the telemaketing industry, is it any wonder that frustrated consumers are seeking redress in the State Legislatures and the courts?

January 3, 1999

"As for the liability issue, I was told by an FCC attorney that the company being represented by the call is 'ultimately' responsible for failures to honor the the do-not-call request. There is nothing that excludes claims made against the [telemarketing] bureaus for other violations and many are fully aware that their clients do not have policies available upon demand. It is unclear how a judge would rule in such a case. The only people that are assured a victory are the telemarketing attorneys that go around trying to get consumers mad enough to sue their clients."

Russ Smith, publisher of Consumer.Net. From a letter to the editor of Teleservices News, published in December 14, 1998 issue.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Russ is right on the mark. The end result of these kind of 'legal games' is even more customer resistance to sales calls to their homes. As more consumers complain to state legislators, more laws will surely be passed. The telemarketing industry has no one to blame but themselves. If the industry would quit playing games and bring itself into compliance, there would be fewer complaints, and as such, less legislation on the state and local level.

Quotes from 1998