Thursday, June 30, 2005

FCC Re-Opens Comment Period

After apparenly pondering the issue for several months, the FCC has decided to reopen the public comment period on the CBA's petition to have the feds override Indiana's Telephone Privacy List. This is a positive development, and we can thank the efforts by the public at large for convincing the FCC to hear us out.

At the same time, the FCC has opened the public comment period concerning the second petition to override the Indiana Telephone Privacy Law by a coalition consisting of telemarketers and non-profit corproations who use telemarketers; we call it the "joint petition." In short, people can comment now on both petitions and tell the feds that we do not want more telemarketing calls.

The page for submitting comments electronically is here and directions on how to submit comments can be found here. You can also comment by mail. A few suggested tips for commenting:

1. For both petitions, reference Docket #02-278. If you are submitting electronically, this means entering "02-278" in the proceeding field (field #1).

2. For the CBA petition, reference file number DA 05-1347. If you are submitting electronically, this means entering "DA 05-1347" in the file number field (field #13).

3. For the joint petition, reference file number DA 05-1346. If you are submitting electronically, this means entering "DA 05-1346" in the file number field (field #13).

4. Please be polite. We understand the strong emotions surrounding this issue, because we feel the same way. But the best way to convince the FCC to listen to us is to be passionate but polite.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Indiana mayors join fight to save Do Not Call

57 mayors of Indiana cities and towns have signed an open letter started by Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions in support of the Attorney General's efforts at saving the Do Not Call law. This is the consumer group's press release on the open letter project:

Over 50 Indiana Mayors Join With Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions in Effort to Preserve Indiana’s Do Not Call List

Mayors Sign Open Letter to Banks, FCC, CBA asking that Petition be Dropped


Evansville, Indiana., March 28, 2005 // Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions (CRCS), a national consumer advocacy group focused on the banking and credit card industries, today announced the results of its Open Letter project to save Indiana’s endangered Do Not Call law.

Last month, the Evansville-based organization launched an intensive statewide effort to enlist the support of Indiana’s mayors behind Attorney General Steve Carter’s fight to protect “Do Not Call.” Indiana’s telemarketing privacy law, one of the nation’s strongest and most successful, is under assault by a coalition of banks who are seeking to have it overturned by the Federal Communications Commission.

CRCS is sending an Open Letter to Fifth Third, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, National City Bank, Huntington, Key Bank, Stock Yards Bank, and Bank One asking that they drop their FCC petition and respect Indiana’s law. Over 50 mayors from around the state have added their names to the letter.

Said CRCS Executive Director Andrew Smith, “We are deeply appreciative of the support of the mayors in our efforts to help save Indiana’s Do Not Call law. The mayors really represent the voice of average Hoosiers—from small towns all the way to our biggest cities—and it is clear that average Hoosiers don’t want to be harassed by telemarketers. We like our law, and we want the banks to leave it alone.”

CRCS has been in close contact with the Attorney General’s office over the past month. While the Attorney General focused on negotiating with the banks, lobbying Indiana’s congressional delegation, and preparing for the upcoming FCC hearings, CRCS spent its time reaching out to the mayors.

“It is always helpful to have the added support of groups like Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions who understand the benefit that our Do Not Call law provides to people here in Indiana,” Attorney General Steve Carter added. “We remain aggressive in our campaign to save Do Not Call. Having the mayors on board sends another message that this law has broad support across the state."

One mayor, Jonathan Weinzapfel of Evansville, is particularly interested in the issue. Weinzapfel was co-author of House Bill 1222, the legislation that created the Do Not Call list in 2001. Said Weinzapfel: “Indiana's Do Not Call list is one of the most successful in the nation because it is one of the strongest in the nation. The consumer protection benefits that Indiana's list provides have been extremely popular among Hoosiers and it would be a disservice if the FCC were to weaken it.”

“This really boils down to the power of the pocketbook,” said Smith. “Consumers have got to be willing to vote with their pocketbooks on issues like this. If the banks sense that they will lose business over it, they will back down. If not, our telephone privacy law will be a thing of the past. I believe that Hoosiers are ready to stand up for their privacy rights. The banks would be wise to listen to the mayors—the voices of their communities—and respect the wishes of Indiana consumers.”

Interested individuals can learn more about the CRCS initiative at its website, www.responsiblecredit.com. Over 7,000 members have joined CRCS’s electronic mailing list. The Attorney General’s office is also maintaining a website, www.savedonotcall.com, where consumers can voice their support for the law.
Here's what the letter itself says:

An Open Letter to Fifth Third Bank, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, National City Bank, Huntington, Key Bank, Stock Yards Bank, and Bank One

To Whom It May Concern:

Since Indiana led the nation in establishing a Do Not Call List in 2001, more than 3 million Hoosiers from all over the state have signed up, guaranteeing their right to privacy from aggressive telemarketers.

Those 3 million Hoosiers are your friends, your family members, your employees, your neighbors, and—most importantly—your customers. They have stated emphatically that they do not want to be bothered by telemarketing calls at home, where they have every right to believe that their privacy will be respected.

In turn, most Indiana banks have respected the desire of these consumers to be left alone by telemarketers. Unfortunately, your organizations are attempting to bypass the voters of Indiana as well as our legal system by appealing directly to a federal agency in Washington, D.C to gut Indiana’s Do Not Call List law. This is not only unfair, it is deeply misguided.

Hoosiers as a whole are a common-sensical and fair-minded lot. That’s why we led the nation in creating a Do Not Call List back in 2001, and that’s why over 3 million of us have enrolled in just a few short years. It doesn’t sit well with us that you would disrespect our privacy, appeal over our heads to Washington, and expect us to remain satisfied customers. Hoosiers deserve better treatment than that.

That is why we are fully supporting Attorney General Steve Carter’s efforts to protect our Indiana Law. We, as Indiana mayors and concerned citizens, are standing with Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions in asking you to please drop your petition to the FCC. Join with us in protecting the privacy rights of Indiana citizens.


Sincerely,


Mayor Richard Hickman, Angola
Mayor Norman Yoder, Auburn
Mayor Donnie Hastings, Jr., Aurora
Mayor Joe Klumpp, Bedford
Mayor Mark Kruzan, Bloomington
Mayor Floyd “Butch” Coburn, Butler
Mayor Pam Hendrickson, Boonville
Mayor Thomas Arthur, Brazil
Mayor James Brainard, Carmel
Mayor Ron Shepard, Clinton
Mayor Fred Armstrong, Columbus
Mayor Max Ellison, Connersville
Mayor Bradley Crain, Covington
Mayor John Zumer, Crawfordsville
Mayor Lee Hoard, Delphi
Mayor David Miller, Elkhart
Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, Evansville
Mayor Graham Richard, Fort Wayne
Mayor Donald Stock, Frankfort
Mayor Nancy Michael, Greencastle
Mayor Frank Manus, Greensburg
Mayor Charles Henderson, Greenwood
Mayor Dennis Whitesell, Hartford City
Mayor Terry Abbett, Huntington
Mayor William Schmitt, Jasper
Mayor Suzanne Handshoe, Kendallville
Mayor Matt McKillip, Kokomo
Mayor Tony Roswarski, Lafayette
Mayor Leigh Morris, LaPorte
Mayor Deborah Cantwell, Lawrence
Mayor Bill Cunningham, Lawenceburg
Mayor Gary Bishop, Ligonier
Mayor Tommy Jones, Linton
Mayor Wayne Seybold, Marion
Mayor Jeffrey Rea, Mishawaka
Mayor Butch Chastain, Mitchell
Mayor James McPherson, Montpelier
Mayor Rosemary Knowles, Mt. Vernon
Mayor Daniel Canan, Muncie
Mayor Tom Nip, Newcastle
Mayor Hugh Wirth, Oakland City
Mayor Jim Walker, Peru
Mayor John Craig, Petersburg
Mayor Doug Olson, Portage
Mayor Sally Hutton, Richmond
Mayor Bill Marksberry, Rising Sun
Mayor Beth Ann Parker, Rockport
Mayor James Bullard, Seymour
Mayor Scott Furgeson, Shelbyville
Mayor Timothy Boles, Sullivan
Mayor Gayle Strassell, Tell City
Mayor Kevin Burke, Terre Haute
Mayor Terry Mooney, Vincennes
Mayor Robert Vanlandingham, Wabash
Mayor Ernie Wiggins, Warsas
Mayor David Abel, Washington
Mayor Joseph Strahura, Whiting

Thursday, March 24, 2005

INtake on saving Do Not Call

The Indianapolis-area publication INtake has a column on Do Not Call:

A bad call for Indiana residents
Federal law could override, dilute state's successful do-not-call list.
By James W. Burnes
james.burnes@intakeweekly.com

On occasion, local lawmakers get it done right. When it comes to the Indiana do-not-call list, that's especially true, as Attorney General Steve Carter, the law's most vocal advocate, will gladly remind you.

The Indiana law was established in 2001, where to date more than 1.5 million households have registered for protection.

It limits those who can call you on your home phone to: businesses with whom you have an existing debt or contract, charities and newspapers when they use their own employees or volunteers to call, and licensed real estate and insurance agents.

The law has been a huge success, and many Hoosiers have been able to enjoy a quiet evening at home.

Unfortunately, the federal do-not-call list, passed in fall 2003, is not as restrictive.

It allows any business that you've had a transaction with during the past 18 months or those whom you've contacted in the past three months, charities and those annoying telephone surveyors, to contact you.

Now, banks are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the federal law, to allow them to contact former customers.

Ultimately, it would mean that any business could contact any person who has been a former client.

In addition to the effort to further dilute the federal law, the banks are lobbying the FCC to allow federal law to override state do-not-call lists, overruling the state's ability to control telemarketing.

The lobbying effort should outrage Hoosiers who will find their current, strong telemarketing law weakened significantly with an ineffective federal law.

Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Dick Lugar are two movers and shakers actively fighting the ruling.

In a joint letter sent March 14 to the chairman of the FCC, the senators expressed their opposition to the proposal. Likewise, Indiana's members of the House of Representatives also have sent a joint letter.

Indiana's congressional leaders are fighting for Hoosiers' rights, but they need and deserve our help to stop this lobbying effort.

If we don't help, we'll have more than our rights removed -- we'll have to start answering those damn calls again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terre Haute Tribune-Star op-ed on saving Do Not Call

Monday's editions of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star contained this column by Mark Bennett discussing the fight to save Do Not Call:

Perspectives
Indiana officials fight to protect state's no-call law

Mark Bennett

Maybe if Hoosiers threaten to answer the phone as Tom Mabe does, the FCC won't remove the deadbolt Indiana put on its door to a world of telemarketers.

A banking group doesn't like the strict no-call law this state adopted three years ago. So the Consumers Banking Association wants the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt Indiana's Telephone Privacy Law and force the state to instead abide by a weaker national no-call law.

These banks' rationale? Indiana's law prohibits telemarketing calls to people and businesses "with which the caller has an established relationship," the national law will actually protect consumers, and, well, it's just easier for banks to deal with one single federal guideline instead of maybe 50 different state no-call statutes.

Hello. This is Indiana. Like it or not, we don't change our clocks here, and we don't want to stop watching "CSI" or the IU-Purdue game to hear about a 7-cents-a-minute long-distance bargain. And loopholes in this national no-call law would reopen our phone lines to a gamut of telemarketing.

Last week, the two guys who represent Indiana in the U.S. Senate - Evan Bayh, a Democrat, and Richard Lugar, a Republican - sent that message (without the references to CSI and basketball) to outgoing FCC Chairman Michael Powell. And eight of the state's nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives - from both political parties - expressed their opposition to the banks' requested change. Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter is fighting to protect Indiana's no-call law. And 1.6 million households in our state - basically 60 percent of the Hoosier population - signed up to not be called.



Let's see. That's both senators, almost all of our congressmen, right-wingers and left-wingers, the attorney general, and a majority of our residents Š

Can you hear us now?

As Bayh put it in the senators' letter to the FCC, "Hoosiers have demonstrated overwhelming support for our state's do-not-call law and have a right to the protection it offers. Federal law should not be used to water down our consumer rights for the benefit of telemarketers."

Indiana Congressman Steve Buyer said in a teleconference with Carter and the media on Wednesday, "I think Indiana's privacy law is one of the strongest and most popular in the nation."

Mabe, a commercial jingle writer from Kentucky whose "Revenge of the Telemarketers" routine has been featured on radio's "Bob and Tom Show," was impressed when he heard the Indiana law's tight limitations. The only exemptions in our no-call law are for real estate and insurance agents, newspapers and charities who use their own employees to make the calls. Companies servicing problems with an existing account or collecting on an existing debt can call you too.

But if we're forced to live under the national no-call law, any company we do business with - from the phone company to banks to credit card firms - will be able to telemarket us for 18 months. And then, if we do any other kind of business with those companies - like write a check or buy something on a credit card - that 18-month clock starts again.

"It's a perpetual exemption, basically," said Staci Schneider of the attorney general's office.

That weaker national no-call law should be considered a "minimum standard," Buyer said Wednesday, and states should be allowed to impose stricter laws if they choose.

The banking group, Carter said, insists that under the national no-call law, all the person answering the calls has to say is, "Don't call again," and they won't. "But that's not going to do anything to protect you against the other 999 or 998 telemarketing calls you're going to get over the next year and a half," Carter explained.

Besides, Indiana's law already allows a consumer to, on their own, permit a company to telemarket them.

It's doubtful Mabe would ever be one of those folks. He's been "messing with" telemarketers ever since 1996, when a guy calling for a charity used the same routine - "Boy, it's good to hear a friendly voice on the other end of this line" - on Mabe twice in just six months. He went for it the first time and gave $30. The next time, he felt duped.

Since then, he's put out a series of humor CDs - "Revenge on the Telemarketers Round One," "A Wakeup Call for Telemarketers" and "Revenge on the Telemarketers Round Two" - and maintains a Web site (www.tommabe.com) that includes some interesting statistics on the topic.

"I just got tired of being victimized by these guys," Mabe said. "And being self-employed, when the phone rings, you just jump."

When I reached Mabe for this interview, he was on his cell phone en route to picking up one of his kids from school. Having heard some of his bits beforehand, I wondered if I was headed for a comical set-up. But he was cool and serious, in a lighthearted way.

And what Mabe does is "mess with" a telemarketer when they call his home. Take the people trying to sell him pre-paid burial plots. They called one night while Mabe and his family were eating dinner. Mabe politely told him to call at a better time. And the next night at dinner time, that burial-plot company calls again. Mabe was ready.

In a stressful voice, Mabe said, "Oh, man. I can't believe you called now. I've been contemplating suicide, and I've been asking God to give me some kind of sign. You must be the angel of death."

OK, that's pretty extreme. But with the average American, according to Mabe, getting two to three telemarketing calls a day, your fuse gets short. Like when the carpet-cleaning telemarketing call came into his home.

"I can't believe you called. Can you guys get blood out of a carpet?" Mabe groans to the caller, who gives a hesitant yes. Then he tells them, "I've got blood all over the place," from the couch to the drapes. And when the caller offers to phone the police, Mabe says, "No, no. God, no," before explaining he must have cut himself shaving.

"The real cops showed up at my house after that one," Mabe remembered. One of the two officers wasn't sympathetic when Mabe explained his retaliation on the telemarketers, and the policeman almost cited him for public mischief. "And I said, 'What? I'm in my own house.' But by the time they left, he was saying, 'Yeah, I hate those sons of -----es too.'"

Of course, we Hoosiers can continue avoiding all of that if the FCC rejects the CBA petition, which - according to the attorney general's office - has since been disavowed by three of original 10 banks supporting it. That decision could come at any time, and it's unclear what effect the chairmanship change from Powell to Kevin Martin, who took over Friday, will have. "We really wouldn't talk about an open issue," said FCC spokesperson Janice Wise.

In the meantime, Hoosiers can still get tidbits about the situation at the SaveDoNoCall.com Web site. But just in case the FCC decides to pre-empt our no-call law, it might be a good idea to bookmark www.tommabe.com, too.

Evansville Courier & Press editorial on saving Do Not Call

In its editions from Friday, March 18, the Evansville Courier & Press had an editorial (registration required) supporting efforts at protecting Indiana's do not call law:

Do Not Call
The Issue: Banking group wants feds to overrule Indiana law. Our View: Don't mess with the no-call list.

March 18, 2005

Indiana's do-not-call list, a consumer protection tool immensely popular with Hoosiers, is under challenge in Washington. The Consumer Bankers Association wants the Federal Communications Commission to grant it an end run around the Indiana law.

But in our view, and no doubt the view of millions of Hoosiers, this is a case where the federal government has no justification to meddle in state affairs.

The association, a national trade organization whose members include several banks doing business in Indiana, wants the FCC to hold that a weaker federal no-call law enacted in 2003 supersedes Indiana's own law passed two years earlier.

If that happened, telemarketers would be allowed to call people they have done business with during the previous 18 months, even if their names appear on the no-call registry. No such provisions are allowed under the Indiana law.

Indiana Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar, who have joined the fight against the bankers' request, point out that federal law should only supersede state law in interstate commerce matters when it is clear that doing so is the intent of Congress. There is no such clear understanding.

We are even more bothered by the organization's argument that it wants to comply with one set of rules, nationwide, instead of differing rules set by multiple states.

To that, we would ask, what is wrong with states having different laws governing such areas as consumer protection? This is the very essence of states' rights. There is no overriding consideration compelling enough to trump those rights.

What is on the line is the desire of Hoosiers to enjoy some protection from annoying and unnecessary telephone calls at home. Indeed, more than 3 million Indiana residents have embraced the protection of their state law. It does include exemptions, such as for newspapers. tax-exempt charities, real estate agents and insurers.

If Hoosiers want to allow more exemptions, they can take it up with the state Legislature, not with bureaucrats in Washington.

In the meantime, Indiana lawmakers are making an effort to send a message to the bankers. In addition to the efforts of Bayh and Lugar, state lawmakers have drafted legislation to prohibit violators of the Indiana law from doing business with the state, reports .

State Sen. Greg Server, R-Evansville, called it a "back at ya'" to the banks.

According to the AP, because of the issue, three banks headquartered in Indiana have disassociated themselves from the group's FCC petition, and one has severed its membership.

They got the message: Don't mess with Indiana's no-call list.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Indiana Senate action roundup

The Indiana Senate's actions to protect Do Not Call from the bankers' assault is making news around Indiana.

From the Indianapolis Star:

Senators have issued a legislative ultimatum to banks: either follow Indiana's do-not-call law, or lose state business.

This stern message to the Consumer Bankers Association, which wants to opt out of the state law and follow the federal telephone privacy law, is contained in House Bill 1501.

Approved Thursday by the Senate Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters Committee, the bill would prohibit the state from contracting with any company that does not abide by the state's do-not-call list, which contains more than 1.6 million Hoosier phone numbers. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

"It's a back-at-ya to the banks for doing an end run on our no-call list," said Sen. Greg Server, R-Evansville, the sponsor of the amendment to the bill.

Attorney General Steve Carter's office, which is in charge of enforcing the state's telephone privacy law, is behind the amendment.

Carter and the bankers have been battling over telephone privacy since November, when the Consumer Bankers Association filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to opt out of the state's law. They argue that banks operating in different states need one uniform law, not a bunch of individual state laws -- and that only the federal government can regulate interstate commerce.

Carter said the proposal isn't any different than requiring companies with state contracts to maintain a drug-free workplace. "It's designed to protect the privacy of Hoosiers."

[...]

The federal law is less stringent than Indiana's because it allows businesses, and their affiliates, to call people on the list if they have done business with them in the past 18 months. Indiana doesn't have this exemption.

Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Garton, R-Columbus, called it "darn near unforgivable" that the banks would seek to circumvent this popular law.

"It has to be the dumbest PR move I've ever seen," he said.
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

State lawmakers have drafted legislation that would prohibit violators of Indiana’s “do-not-call” list from doing business with the state, a move prompted by banks trying to pre-empt Indiana’s telephone privacy statute with a federal law.

“It’s a ‘back at ya’ at the banks for trying to do an end-run to our no-call list ...,” state Sen. Gregory Server, R-Evansville, said Wednesday. His comments came a day after the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters amended the penalty provisions into a bill dealing with deceptive acts and sent it to the full Senate.

Server said the idea behind the legislation came from Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter’s office, which has been trying to get the Consumer Bankers Association to drop its efforts to get around Indiana’s no-call law.

The national trade group, whose members include several banks that do business in Indiana, has asked the Federal Communications Commission to rule that a federal no-call law enacted in 2003 supersedes an Indiana law enacted two years earlier.

The bankers group says the federal law has adequate protections for consumers. It wants to comply with one set of rules instead of those mandated by multiple state laws.

But Carter says the federal law is weaker than Indiana’s, in part because it allows companies to make telemarketing calls to people they have done business with during the previous 18 months, even if customers are on the federal no-call list. Indiana’s law has no such exemption.
Louisville Courier-Journal:
Indiana lawmakers are fighting back against banks that have asked the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt the state's popular do-not-call list.

The state Senate could vote next week on a bill that would prohibit state government from doing business with any company that does not comply with Indiana's law, even if it complies with the federal do-not-call program.

House Bill 1501 could exclude noncompliant banks from millions -- even billions -- of dollars in state deposits, bonds and other transactions.

Attorney General Steve Carter said the issue is bigger than the banking sector.

"If the Indiana law is pre-empted, it will open it up to everybody that you have had business transactions with," Carter said.

That's because the federal list allows companies to call customers with whom they've previously done business. Indiana's law bans such contacts.

Sen. Greg Server, R-Evansville, said the measure before the Senate "is a 'back at you' to the banks for doing an end run on our no-call list."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

The Indiana State Senate is taking its own action to protect Do Not Call:

Banks that are challenging Indiana's no-call list are now the target of legislation that would prevent them from doing business with state government.

Leaders in the state Senate Wednesday announced that they are working with Attorney General Steve Carter to prevent state government funds from being deposited in any bank that has petitioned the FCC regarding the do-not-call list. Eight banks have done so. Also, Staci Schneider from the attorney general's office says that the amended language "requires any company that does business with the state to follow the do-no-call law."

“The do-not-call list is an extraordinary piece of legislation. It's popular. I mean, its popularity is overwhelming and for the banks to challenge it in effect, again, I repeat, has to be the dumbest public relations move that I've heard,” said Sen. Bob Garton (R-Senate Leader).

Senator Greg Server of Evansville is sponsoring an amendment that would punish banks who seek to get around the do-no-call list.

Indiana's U.S. senators defend Do Not Call

Both of Indiana's U.S. senators have weighed in against the CBA's efforts to pre-empt Indiana's Do Not Call law. The South Bend Tribune is on the story:

U.S. Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh are urging the Federal Communications Commission to protect Indiana's Do-Not-Call law from attempts to weaken it.

Although they are from different parties -- Lugar is a Republican and Bayh a Democrat -- the two lawmakers from Indiana have a long history of working together.

They teamed up again Monday to send a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell in which they expressed their opposition to a petition filed with the communications agency by the Consumer Bankers Association.

The CBA is asking the FCC to pre-empt Indiana's laws, the letter said, "to the extent that they prohibit telemarketing calls to persons and entities with which the caller has an established business relationship."

What that means, according to an earlier statement by Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter, is that if the CBA petition is granted, Indiana's law would be replaced by the less restrictive federal do-not-call law.

Carter, who visited South Bend last month in support of his campaign against the CBA petition, said the proposed change would open the door for any business, not just banks, to start calling again.

"Hoosiers have demonstrated overwhelming support for our state's 'Do-Not-Call' law and have a right to the protection it offers," Bayh said in a statement. "Federal law should not be used to water down our consumer rights for the benefit of telemarketers."

The key phrase in the CBA petition is "established business relationship."

According to Lugar, under federal rules established in 2003, such a relationship is renewed and calls can be made for 18 months after routine transactions such as using a credit card or paying a bill.

Indiana's law provides greater privacy protections, Lugar said, by allowing consumers to choose which businesses are permitted to solicit them by phone.

According to the letter, Hoosiers would not be alone should the petition be granted as the pre-emption of state law would have a similar impact on a number of other states which currently have similar protections.

"Each day, I hear from more and more Hoosiers concerned with this attempt to weaken our 'Do-Not-Call' law," said Bayh. "Senator Lugar and I will continue to urge the FCC to protect Hoosiers from unwanted calls."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Purdue newspaper discusses Do Not Call

The Exponent, a student newspaper at Purdue University, discusses Do Not Call in today's editions:

The most powerful telephone privacy law in the nation is under attack.

The Consumer Bankers Association has submitted a petition to the FCC asking that exemptions be placed in the Indiana Telephone Privacy Law to allow companies to contact individuals they have previously done business with. Provisions to protect consumers from such calls are what set Indiana’s law apart from the National Do Not Call Registry, said Staci Schneider, press secretary for Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter.

The Telephone Privacy Law, developed and enforced by Carter, is designed to reduce harassment from telemarketers by making it illegal for organizations, with some exceptions, to call Indiana residents registered on the list.

"If we’re going to pass a law, we want it to have an impact," said Schneider, adding that the Indiana list, established in 2001 and containing more than 1.6 million registered phone numbers, allows fewer exemptions to the types of organizations legally able to call registered citizens than any other list in the country; that includes the federal list established in 2003 by the FCC and FTC. The largest difference between the state and federal lists, said Schneider, is the varying stance on established business relationships.

The CBA petition claims that the restrictions placed on its members by the Indiana law make it difficult for banks to maintain contact with customers they have previously done business with. The Association is asking that these restrictions be removed, allowing banks and other businesses to call any consumers they have had business with over the last 18 months, an exemption already present in the National Do Not Call Registry.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Op-ed on the fight to save Do Not Call

Fort Wayne News-Sentinel business writer Linda Lipp has a column on the fight to save Indiana's Do Not Call list in the paper's March 7 editions:

Indiana’s do-not-call law has to be one of the most popular statutes this state has enacted in decades.

About 1.6 million Hoosier households — upwards of 3 million people — have given it a ringing (no pun intended) endorsement by adding their phone numbers to the list since it took effect in 2002. I’ll admit right up front that I’m one of them.

Indiana’s law may in fact be the toughest in the nation, a bit of irony in a business-friendly state not exactly known for aggressive consumer protection.

But Indiana’s law is under attack from the Consumer Bankers Association, which wants the Federal Communications Commission to issue a ruling pre-empting the provision in the Indiana statute that prohibits calls to customers with whom a business has had a relationship in the previous 18 months.

The association also has asked the FCC to determine whether the less restrictive standards of the federal do-not-call rule, which took effect in October 2003, supersede provisions of do-not-call laws in Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

“We simply want one set of consumer protection rules, rather than rules in different states,” CBA President Joe Belew said in a prepared statement.

“I find that argument rather disingenuous,” Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said last week. “There are numerous other laws and regulations they comply with that vary from state to state. Technology makes that easy to do.”

The CBA also has argued that all the names and numbers on the Indiana do-not-call list have been incorporated into the federal list — making the state’s program unnecessary. While that is true with many states that had do-not-call programs, it is not the case with Indiana.

The legislation that created Indiana’s do-not-call list actually prohibits that from being done, Carter said. It would take another act of the General Assembly for the Indiana names to be transferred to the federal list.

Meanwhile, if Indiana’s program were thrown out, individuals would be hearing bells — or at least ring tones — unless they hurry to sign up for the federal program. And even then, they still would be subject to calls from any company with which they had done business in the past 18 months, because those calls are permitted under the federal rule. The only way to stop those calls would be to call each and every company and ask to be placed on its no-call list.

“We want to be able to call our current customers, unless they ask us not to,” read a statement from Bank One. “Any customer of ours in any state who does not wish to receive telephone calls from us about our products and services may contact us…and ask to be placed on our own do-not-call list.”

That procedure is known as an “opt out” because it requires the consumer to make the effort to say, “no thanks.” Indiana’s law contains the more consumer-friendly “opt in,” which requires the business to take the initiative to ask the consumer if he or she would mind being called.

Banks and other businesses have had three years since Indiana’s law took effect to make those requests, so it’s no fault but their own if they haven’t made the effort, the attorney general said.

Carter launched a “Save Do Not Call” campaign in February to urge consumers to contact the FCC, and their banks, to tell them they want Indiana’s law preserved. He’s taken some heat from newspaper editorialists — including The News-Sentinel’s — for spending public funds on the effort.

But Carter said he also has gotten thank-you notes from Hoosiers who were glad he had alerted them to the situation. And if a strong response from the public persuades the FCC to leave Indiana’s law alone, or gets the banks to back down on their request, it could save Indiana the costs of a legal battle to appeal a negative FCC decision, he said.

Three banks — Integra, Old National and Union Federal — already have dropped their support of the CBA’s petition and/or their membership in the organization. Banks still urging the FCC on include Bank One/J.P. Morgan Chase, Fifth Third, National City, Wells Fargo and others.

“I think it would be smart” if they withdraw their support of the petition, Carter said. “They are going to continue to annoy their own customers. If they persist, people are going to move their accounts.”

The official period for public comment to the FCC has ended, but Carter said that should not stop people from contacting the federal agency or their banks.

There is no way of knowing how long it will take the FCC to make a decision, and every voice heard now may mean an annoying sales call prevented later.

For information on the Save Do Not Call campaign and how to contact banks, the CBA and the FCC, visit savedonotcall .com.

Friday, March 04, 2005

More comments

Here are some of the comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com since yesterday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

I am a memeber of Fifth Third Bank and am disappointed that they would want to invade my privacy after doing so many years of business with them. If this law is overturned I will be sure to seek out a new bank that did not participate in this nonsense to do my business with.

***

When I first found out about this site I was so happy! I said to myself at last there's the answer to those annoying telemarketers. I readily spread the news to all my friends thru e-mail. Most of the time we have to screen our calls. I think it should stay. You're not alone, please count on us!

***

First, I would like to thank our Indiana Attorney General for making all of us aware of the attempt by the CBA to change the rules of our strong Do-Not-Call law to the weak Federal law, and providing the names of the banks which are supporting CBA's position.
This attempt by CBA ranks right up there with identity theft, because if they convince the FCC of the need for change listed in their petition we will once again have our privacy and precious time stolen by these nitwits at all hours of the day and night. If I wanted these calls I would not have signed the Do-Not-Call List, how hard is that to understand????
I have sent my comments to the FCC in opposition to CBA's petition and have contacted the two banks on the list that I have accounts with, National City and Bank One/Chase, at the corporate e-mail contacts with my opposition of their support for the CBA in this action and what I,as a customer, plan to do if the petition is ratified by the FCC.
Let us hope that the FCC can see the power play the CBA is trying to run past them, and they realize if we Hoosiers' wanted to be called we would not have signed the list in Indiana!!!

***

It seems very simple to me that if I placed my name in the DO NOT CALL LIST then it should be very obvious that I DO NOT WANT TO BE CALLED by telemarketers whether from charitable,retailcompany,banks,or church organizations. MY PHONE is for MY PRIVATE USE. I am the administrator of my houshold and until these solicitors start paying the bills for MY PHONE and MY INTERNET ACCOUNTS I will choose who contacts me and for what, regardless if they have dealt with me in the past. I say that because the issue of SPAM being the alternate way of some to randomly invade my privacy. As a word to the wise please always check any wording when you register hardware and software for your computer. Read the fine print before you click SUBMIT and uncheck anything that allows third party solicitations to your email address. You have no idea how many email accounts I have had to delete in the past because of these intrusive advertisements. Place your flyers in the grocery stor! es like countless others do. Some may be ugly but at least they respect my right to view or not view them and who knows? Some are quite effective in your search for new clients. The point being to all you bank personnel, drop your bull*&^%, and deal with the fact that this country and it's people have spoken so respect it now or pay for it later when you have no customers!

***
I will change banks if necessary to stop your efforts of busting the "Do Not Call" law. I bank with Bank One and Fifth Third and heed my threats. "DO NOT CALL"

***

I can assure fifth third my busnisess will go elsewhere....your bottom line will not invade the privacey of my house however greedy you are...........George S.....is this the extent of your bussiness imagination to become a bottom dweller like so many other companies. Stop and think about it...the law was inacted for a reason. If you had a better bussiness plan this invasion of my privacey would not be necessary. Small thinkers!!

Consumer group joins fight to save Do Not Call

Consumer advocacy groups are starting to take up the fight to protect Indiana's Do Not Call law. The Evansville-based Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions has weighed in, and the Terre Haute Tribune-Star has the story:

A consumer advocacy group based in Evansville has joined the fight to preserve Indiana's endangered "Do Not Call" law, which restricts telemarketing.

Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions is lending its support to Attorney General Steve Carter, who opposes efforts by a national group to weaken Indiana's Do Not Call law, said Andrew Smith, the consumer group's executive director.

Smith was in Terre Haute on Thursday to talk about the group's efforts.

Consumer Bankers Association, which has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission, wants to pre-empt the Indiana Do Not Call law with a federal law.

[...]

In response, the Evansville-based consumer group is enlisting the support of local government officials and community leaders to join the fight, Smith said.

The bankers' association, a powerful lobbying group in Washington, "has decided they don't like Indiana's law because it doesn't have the gaping loopholes that the federal law has," Smith said.

The bankers' association is "going over the heads of Indiana voters, over the heads of legislators, around our court system and straight to this federal agency, the FCC," to pre-empt Indiana law, he said.

The consumer group is contacting Indiana mayors and asking them to sign an open letter to banks in Indiana that support the Consumer Bankers Association petition. The letter asks the banks to drop their support of the petition, Smith said.

It's also important for consumers to speak up, he said. "There's only so much we can do and the attorney general can do. Consumers have the ultimate power here - in their pocketbooks."

Consumer Bankers Association wants the ability to contact people with whom they have an established business relationship, Carter said. But it would open the floodgates to other companies.

"This means any company you do business with now - your bank, phone company, your mortgage company, credit card companies - could contact you to sell more products and services each time you pay a monthly bill. It also means all the companies you do business with on a daily basis would have the ability to contact you over an 18-month period," Carter said in a press release.

By the federal standard, the company could call the individual for 18 months after a business transaction, said Staci Schneider, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

About 3.6 million citizens benefit from Indiana's Do Not Call law, state officials say.
Read the whole thing. You can check out the Web site for the Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions here.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The latest comments

Here are some of the comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com since yesterday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

I am a customer of National City Bank. I want to let them know that I strongly oppose their attempt to circumvent the Indiana do not call list. I pay for my telephone for my personal use and not to provide them with a cheap marketing tool. If the Do Not Call List in Indiana is circumvented, I would like to let my bank know that I fully intend to pull my money out of their bank and place it in a bank that has respect for my wishes and did not particpate in this.

***

I am opposed to lifting the ban on this disgusting and annoying form of telephone harassment!! I have worked shift work and have been awakened during the day when I have tried to sleep. I now have call forward from my home telephone to my cell phone. If the ban is lifted these annoying calls will now cost me money!!

This is just another case of banks pursuing the almighty dollar at the expense of the little guys.

***

Please leave the do not call list law intact. There are too many companies who abused their ability to call people at home, over and over again. Interrupting important family activities to harass and badger private citizens with absolutely no accountability. Even when we told these companies over and over again that we were not interested in their services, they kept no records of our refusals and continued to invade our private family time, seeming not to care even as we continued to voice our objections.

If I watch a TV show, go to the movies or read a newspaper, I understand that viewing advertisement is part of paying for the service. I voluntarily enter into this compact every time I enjoy one of these services. But my private time is my own, and I deeply resent commercial enterprises that take advantage of our open society by using the phone lines to contact me with advertisements when I derive no benefit in return. In fact, I pay for my own phone service and it should be illegal to use a privately owned communication device without the owner's consent, which these companies routinely do.

My rights as an American citizen should supercede any special interest group's lobbying efforts and I will not stand idly by while they attempt to weaken this law. If the telemarketing industry had done a better job of policing themselves in the first place, we would not have needed the do not call list. But they stampeded over our concerns and didn't police themselves, so we as Indiana citizens acted to preserve our rights to privacy and the sanctity of our homes.

I implore you not change the do not call list law in any way. If you do, there will be political and economic consequences for you and any who try to assist you, as the anger and frustration I express is shared by the vast majority of Indiana citizens. It is the will of the people, therefore that you abide by and uphold he privacy protections in the current law.

***

i bank with Key Bank and Bank One. I will leave both accounts if this do not call list is defeated.
Why can't you just waste more money simply mailing stuff to me? Why must you invade my space by telephone too?

***

I have accounts and loans with three of the top banks (Bank One, Wells Fargo, National City) opposing the Do Not Call list, please be aware that I am aware that I am just one person, but I will not hesitate to transfer my dealings to a local Credit Union that is not interfering with the Do Not Call list. I for one appreciate the ability to chose who I have dealings with and who contacts me. When the solicitors start paying my phone bill, than the will have the right to call me, until then it is my right not to be bothered! I also am encouraging many of my friends to contact you in support of the do not call list.

***

Do NOT listen to the rest of the people that are e-mailing you, or whatever this submition does. I DO NOT support this movement. This movement is a massive waste of money that could be put to much better use, and is going against something that is not causing any problems. This was started up by someone that DID NOT do full research into the topic. Banks don't make calls unless needed. I have never gotten a call from my bank that I did not want or need. If anything they saved me big time with warning and such.

***

I wish to go on record in support of Indiana's Do Not Call law.

Neither my family nor myself wish to be disturbed by the unwanted, unneeded and worst of all, unsolicited, telephone sales spiels from your banks. I also do not want to receive calls from your related finance/mortgage companies, credit card departments, insurance and financial planning departments/firms, real estate ventures or any banking facility.

If I want to become a customer of your bank, or if I am interested in any of your products, I will contact your bank. I do not phone you unnecessarily; I expect the same courtesy in return. Harassing, interruptive phone calls only serve to alienate my against your specific banks and institutions.

I am now actively engaged in battle to keep my home phone lines clear. I am passing this information on to my family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. I ask you not to alieniate your current and/or future bank clients by pushing for the repeal of Indiana's Do Not Call law.

***

Please do not take away my quiet evenings and private times with my family by calling and trying to sell me some crap I do not want!

***

TO IT MAY CONCERN;
WHAT ON EARTH MAKES YOU PEOPLE THINK THAT AMERICA WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU ON OUR TELEPHONES.I HOPE ENOUGH PEOPLE RESPOND TO THIS PROGRAM SO YOU ARE INNUDATED WITH THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF E-MAILS. THIS WAY YOU CAN EXPERIANCE THE UNWANTED INTERUPTIONS YOU PROVIDE AMERICA WHEN WE FINALLY GET TO SIT DOWN FOR DINNER AFTER A LONG DAYS WORK AND HORRIFFIC TRAFFIC TO AND FROM OUR EMPLOYMENT! iT WOULD NOT BOTHER ME IF ALL PEOPLE INVOLVED IN TELAMARKETING FELL OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!!!!!!
AN ANGRY PERSON, WILLING TO DO WHAT EVER IS NECESSARY TO KEEP YOUR KIND QUITE

PS
I AM SAVING THIS E-MAIL SO I CAN SEND IT EVERY DAY!!!

***

In my opinion there is nothing more irritating than to be interrupted with whatever you are doing to answer a phone with a sales person trying to sell you something you did not ask for and do not want or have any use for. There is plenty of room in the advertising medium of newspapers to take care of any thing they wish to sell.

Please do not allow anyone to once again use our phone for advertising purposes.

Thank you for your consideration.

***

We realize that telemarketers need income to live and support their families, but they have become a real nuisance and burden with the constant phone calls and their 'pitches'. We were taught manners on the phone (meaning not to hang up on someone, but the constant phone calls at all hours of the day and night, does set aside all teachings sometimes. Emails or letters from banks, etc. would be acceptable, but please give the phone a rest and leave us alone.

LEAVE THE DO NOT CALL LIST ALONE, PLEASE.

***

Please do not allow a change to our do not call guidelines that would allow any more exclusions. Before I signed up my phone never stopped ringing with sales calls. We have a family member who sleeps during the day and they were constantly being bothered. I should not have to turn off my ringer and miss calls I do want to receive or emergency calls just to have peace from telemarketers. If they want to offer me a service and they have dealt with me in the past they have my address - let them mail me a brochure. The post office could use the business.

***

I cannot believe that you are petitioning to make changes to the “DO NOT CALL” for YOUR benefit.

If you are MY bank, you should respect my right to privacy and that includes no solicitation. I'll come and talk to you on MY time when I need information. You stuff my statements with fliers, you send me other sales solicitations, and I don't need to talk to you, too, when you decide I need a sales call.

Our society has become so money hungry and sales driven and you think that the phone is for your sales advantage, and if I choose to not be called it is discriminatory. WRONG! You discriminate against my right to privacy and peace and solitude in my own home. I purchased the phone and I pay the bill. I do that because I want to be able to talk to those I choose to speak with when I choose to do so!!!

ENOUGH! Stop the litigation and STOP spending money on things like this! Pay the sales people you have better wages and promote them for doing good jobs. REWARD the competent and cut your fluff… you’ll make a profit.

***

Continue do not call!!!

I hate telemarketers!!!

New Jersey takes up the fight to protect Do Not Call

Like Indiana, New Jersey is also taking up the fight to protect state Do Not Call Laws from pre-emption by federal bureaucrats. NorthJersey.com has the background:

Do-not-call rule in N.J. challenged
Sunday, February 13, 2005

By KEVIN DeMARRAIS

Enjoying the peace and quiet at home, without calls from telemarketers?

By all indications, the national do-not-call rules have been an overwhelming success for consumers since they kicked in 17 months ago. And it's been even better for us in New Jersey and several other states whose rules are more restrictive than those developed by two federal agencies.

But our edge could be disappearing shortly if some trade groups have their way.

Responding to petitions from telemarketers and trade associations, the Federal Communications Commission is considering rules that would force New Jersey and six other states to dump their own rules in favor of weaker national standards.

The petitions are under review and a decision could come soon.

First, a quick history lesson.

As the federal government was twiddling its thumbs on establishing a do-not-call registry, New Jersey and several other states passed laws to limit calls from telemarketers. Each law was quite similar in intent, but they differed in details.

At the same time, there was a jurisdictional dispute between the Federal Trade Commission, which was pushing to implement national do-not-call rules, and the FCC, which was not.

That was significant because the FCC has authority to regulate telemarketing by telephone companies, airlines, banks, credit card companies and insurance companies -some of the most persistent telemarketers.

The FCC finally came onboard in June 2003 - a month after New Jersey enacted its law - and that eliminated many loopholes. As a result, many states hung up on their own programs, leaving the job - and the cost — to the feds.

But not New Jersey. The state turned list management over to the federal regulators, but retained what its sponsors called the toughest do-not-call law in the nation.

The big difference was the "existing relationships" clause.

Under federal rules, which took effect on Oct. 1, 2003, consumers who sign up could still receive calls from businesses with which they had relationships for 18 months (after making a purchase or payment) or three months (if they merely requested information).

The New Jersey law, however, allows calls only if the service or product being sold is directly related to what was the basis of the relationship.

For example, if you have a checking account at the Hackensack National Bank, the feds allow Hackensack telemarketers to call with offers for anything the bank sells, from life insurance to credit cards to mutual funds. New Jersey's law says they can call only with checking account offers.

Charities, political organizations and organizations conducting surveys are also exempt from both sets of regulations.

Consumers have certainly embraced the do-not-call rules, whether the state or federal version.

More than 64 million phones have been registered, including 2.8 million - or two out of three residential lines - in New Jersey.

Consumers have filed more than 675,000 complaints about unwanted calls, including 2,600 in the state, said Genene Morris, a spokeswoman for the Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the program.

The feds have filed nine lawsuits against alleged violators, but the state has not yet taken action, which is somewhat surprising when you consider the promise of aggressive enforcement when the law was passed.

However, there is a reason, Morris said. More than 70 percent of the complaints were filed late last year, and many are under review or investigation.

Although consumers praise do-not-call, organizations such as the American Teleservices Association (ATA) and the Consumers Bankers Association have petitioned the FCC to overturn laws in New Jersey and six other states, FCC spokeswoman Rosemary Kimball said.

"Too restrictive," the ATA says in its petition. "The New Jersey rules fail to provide a personal relationship exemption."

The bankers association takes a similar approach in Wisconsin, saying that the differences between the state and federal laws creates "multiple, conflicting regulations" that make it "very difficult to reach existing customers."

But the states are fighting back. The state has launched a new Web site, nj.gov/protectdonotcall, to make it easy for residents to express their views to the FCC. And last week, in an attempt to drum up support, acting Governor Codey sent e-mails to residents with links to that site.

"I am adamantly opposed to any attempt to weaken New Jersey's do-not-call program," Codey said. "This threat - pushed for by telemarketers who want to weaken our law - is very real."

Officially, it's too late for consumers to object to the FCC on the ATA petition - the comment period closed in December - but consumers who want our more restrictive rules to remain can still be heard, Kimball said.

"They'll all come in and they'll be read," she promised.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

You guessed it ... more comments

Here are some of the comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com since yesterday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

I personally do not wish to, again, be interrupted by time wasteful calls. Your attempt to circumvent the wishes of the greater number of citizens is despicable. You,(CEO's/Directors), are the typical trash who egotistically feel you can control everything and everybody by your typical bullying tactics.

***

Wells Fargo wants to charge me to speak to a banker but they want to be able to call and disturb me when ever they want.

***

Please DO NOT mess with Indiana's wonderful DO NOT CALL list. Telemarketing is the worst thing anyone ever dreamed up. My home has been so peaceful ever since the list has been in effect because my phone has stopped ringing from the annoying unwanted phone calls.

I assure you, our family does NOT do business with anyone that annoys us with telemarking calls. This will now also include the banks that are pushing to overturn this wonderful DO NOT CALL LIST.

***

I am appalled at your companies lack of concern or interest in your customers' and future customers' interests in their privacy. I want you to know that as a consumer living in Indiana, I have long thought our Do Not Call list was one of the best pieces of legislation our state has ever enacted. Now I find your companies trying to lobby to pre-empt this law, just so your company can invade our expressly desired privacy with your constant, irritating solicitations.

I am going to say this: I will NOT, EVER, do ANY business with ANY company or it's affiliates who support this lobbying. ANY bank I currently do ANY business with I will cancel, close or transfer those accounts to your competitors who do NOT support this INVASION OF PRIVACY. And I will laugh in your face when you call trying to solicit me.

How about you gove me the home phone numbers for all your employees including your CEO and other high management employees. I would love to call them at home and discuss this matter at my convenience while you are trying to eat dinner, watch tv, enjoy quality family time, etc.

I will let everyone I see know that your company supports invading our privacy and show no concern what so ever about our interests. I will also let them know which banks do NOT support this and in turn recommend doing business with those banks.

Thank you for your time

***

I work until midnight, so I like to sleep until about 9 am. This morning I woke at 7 am to my phone ringing from a telemarketer wanting to sell me some coupons to shop at a mall. When I asked if they were aware of each states restrictions concerning how early they could call for telemarketing, the women hung up on me. I for one find it time consuming and rude to be woken or for that matter at any time to receive unwanted calls from telemarketers. I am in favor of keeping the do not call laws.

***

Gentlemen: You organization represent the interests of banks and others who wish to utilize telemarketing to alert their customers to offers and services. The petition in front of the Federal Communications Commission makes it clear that these institutions consider it their 'right and privilege' (my quotes) to be able to contact their customers by telephone to discuss these offers and services. The rationale goes on to indicate in part that it's cheaper to contact customers by telephone, and therefore that's what they must be able to do.

It appears that your members just don't get it. The state Do Not Call lists, particularly the one here in Indiana, are a response by the people to the incessant assault on them by telemarketers. The medium has been so discredited that any further attempt to use it in this manner will backfire on your members. That kind of reaction has begun, with the Attorney General in Indiana making people aware of your members' intents.

Advise your members that their insistence on being able to call their clients about offers and services is not a good idea. It WILL lead to a backlash against their institutions. Urge them to withdraw this misguided effort before the backlash grows.

There are alternatives, so 'just because we can doesn't mean we should'. Why not put inserts into the periodic mailings? It's actually cheaper.

***

If you don't stop your efforts to ammend the Indiana Do Not Call List, I will Never do business with you. I don't want you calling me...Use the mail. Shame On You! Have you lost your Sense?

***

To Whom It May Concern,

The citizens of the State of Indianapolis have clearly stated their position on how businesses should conduct themselves in regard to telemarketing calls. This includes banks.

For the record please let it be known that any bank, organization or group that opposes or seeks to overturn the law in Indiana that protects the rights of individuals and families to not be called by any business, including banks, is in direct contradiction with the will of the people. Any party that lends support and/or resources to change or overturn the law for it's own benefit shall no longer enjoy a personal or business relationship with me. This includes my current bank, Fifth Third, whose name is listed in support of these measures.

Please agree to conduct your business in a reasonable and rational way, which respects the privacy of your customers and the people of this state. That is the intention of the current Indiana law, which has been successful in stemming the tide of intrusive telemarketing by businesses who have not and will not undertake this courtesy on their own. Seeking to change it only places your industry in the ire of the public.

***

I strongly oppose your efforts to pre-empt Indiana's Do Not Call Law and allow banks to make telemarketing calls to customers. I have banked at National City Bank for many years, and I assure you that if I receive one telemarketing call from them as a result of their lobbying efforts, I will move my account to a different bank.

***

My personal telephone number is non-published and non-listed.Do you really think that it is fair, for me to pay an extra fee to my phone company? If I wanted my privacy violated I WOULD NOT have my phone number on the DO NOT CALL LIST. Keep my private number private. Leave the DO NOT CALL LIST alone.

***

Please save the Do Not Call list.

I work the night shift at a health care facility. Sleeping through the day light hours is difficult in itself. Being awakened by bothersome phone calls impairs the safety of my patients.

I'm sure there are many other persons that work this shift. Just think if it were you or a loved one on the receiving end of someone that is sleep deprived. How good would their skills be?

It is known that someone who has not had enough sleep is as risky as someone who has been consuming alcahol. Would you want to jepordize your safety?

Save the Do Not Call list.

***

Telemarketing calls are an interruption to my life. 99% of them don't know how to say my name, are too pushy, and won't take NO for an answer. It is not in my budget to pay for caller ID, so being on Indiana's Do Not Call List has been wonderful. My call volume dropped drastically. Now, when my phone rings, I don't worry about who is on the other end. Please do not add back these interruptions.

***

Please oppose the FCC petition #02-278. I oppose it. I detest receiving solicitating phone calls. If I want to buy something, or donate something, I will take the initiative myself. Thank you.

Comments galore

Here are some of the comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com since Monday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

How dare you! You are personally trying to violate my personal rights & it is an invasion of my privacy. I do not appreciate getting calls anytime of the day or night. It always seemed the phone rang just when me & my family were sitting down for dinner. You may want to reconsider your decision on this matter. Alot of folks are really angry about banks like yourselves trying to invade our privacy. I know that if you get the no call list dropped, I personally will NOT do banking at any of the banks that participate.

***

To whom it may concern,

Please drop your petition to the FCC to nullify the Indiana Do Not Call list. My wife and I have multiple accounts with Wells Fargo and National City, and would have no problems switching everything (several checking accounts, a savings account, a brokerage account, student loans, and a mortgage account) over to a banking institution that believes that protecting their customers' privacy is more important than trying to squeeze them while they are trying to eat their dinner / sleep / relax.

Please contact me and reassure me that you plan on dropping this (rather unpopular) petition, or contact me and explain to me why you believe it is so important that you wish to spam / anger your customers (and losing them in the process).

***

I don't want to be bothered by sales calls!

***

Please do not let a bunch of people call me again for things I don't want!!

***

Dear Bank Representatives,

I am asking that your bank & the other members of the CBA to withdrawn your petition to the FCC to alter or eliminate Indiana’s Do Not Call List. We do not want the law to be changed or replaced by the weaker Federal statue.

We, as well as the overwhelming majoring of Hoosiers (& Americans), find Telemarketers as an unwanted intrusion & complete nuisance. These calls are a waste of their time & ours; we have never done business with Telemarketing firms & never will.

I would think in a highly competitive business like banking in Indiana, the last thing a smart businessperson would want is any part of promoting such a hated industry.

If the CBA moves forward with this petition, Hoosiers will act in kind by moving their accounts to banks & credit unions that respect our privacy.

***

How dare you try to change a Law that is overwhelmingly popular with the Citizens of Indiana?

I was sick and tired of constant sales and marketing calls. Such calls essentially ceased once Indiana’s “Do Not Call Law” was passed. Why do the Banks want to change this Law?

Have the Banks decided to become the “champions” of the “sales and marketing” POND SCUM who harass people during their diner hours with unexpected and unwanted “cold call” sales calls? Or have you decided to become part of this low life species?

It’s bad enough that all of you are OUT-OF-STATE BUSINESSES - that none of you are based in Indiana. That alone suggests you really have no ties to the State of Indiana. But by your actions relative to this Law, you are in the process of nullifying and wasting millions of dollars of television advertising that you have spent trying to convince us how “Community Oriented” you are. Huntington Bank and Fifth Third Bank’s advertising immediately comes to mind.

One thing I can personally promise you - if you are successful in getting the FCC to supplant this Indiana Law with a weaker Federal Law, I will make sure that my wife and I close any and all accounts, loans, or credit arrangements we have with any of your Banks.

And by the way, I can’t help but comment on how massively STUPID and AFFECTED the name “Fifth Third Bank” sounds!

***

What gives you the right to take away my right to privacy? I choose to be on the do not call list because of the vast number of phone calls I was recieving during the day. I do business with 2 of the banks on the list and will immediatly terminate my relationships with them for banks that are not on the list. I work third shift, My sleeping hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. which are all in the hours you are asking to make calls in. How would you like getting phone calls at home from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.. I dont think you would like it, besides if I want to do business with these banks I will go to them, but not if they call me. I won't do business with people that don't respect my right to rest and spend time with my family with out having the phone ring every five min. You are those people that live in the office and put business before your family which is sad. just remember for every person you call you will lose the business of another.

***

Leave us alone ! Do you want your customers calling you at home to ask for a loan?Do you want customers calling during your evening begging you to sponser a softball team!? Would you want customers calling you to ask you to forgive a delinquent loan!???How about explaining the difference between a CD and a 401K?? I can think of many time consuming things to bother you with!!! Will you be willing to take time away from helping your children with homework to answer my questions??? Would you be happy to ignore your child that wants a bedtime story so you can tell me that my safe deposit box is actually safe??? Would you be willing to be very late to a school function so that I can reorganise my checking account over the phone???If you dont mind the constant barrage of phone calls,I dare you to post your home phone on the internet so everyone can put you on their DO CALL LIST! Do you people realise that for the majority of people, this type of harrasment is actually counterproductive!!!I for one will turn away any telephone soliciter whether its from a bank or whatever!This is nothing more than legalized harrassment and we dont want to be intruded on in our private time! I support the DO NOT CALL LIST and I do not want to be bothered at home! Its enough to be spammed on the internet by the same type of soliciters, but at least we have the option of deleting unwanted e-mail! Do Not Call means exactly that!!! DO NOT CALL

***

Your time is valuable and so is mine, so I'll be direct and to the point. Like countless other individuals in the state of Indiana, I placed my name on the state DO NOT CALL LIST for reasons that should be obvious to anyone of average intelligence. Nevertheless, the disturbing news recently released by the Attorney General's office has made it clear that I cannot make assumptions about who will be reading this, so I'll spell it out:

ANY BANK INCLUDING NATIONAL CITY BANK, WILL IMMEDIATELY LOSE MY DEPOSITS OF THEY CONTINUE WITH THIS PETITION.

I DO NOT WANT TO BE CALLED ON THE TELEPHONE, NOR MAILED, WHETHER ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE, BY ANY INDIVIDUAL, ELECTRONIC OR MECHANICAL DEVICE, OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY CORPORATION OR OTHER ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOLICITING DONATIONS OR PARTICIPATION IN ANY BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP OR TRANSACTION, NOR FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFORMING ME OR MY HOUSEHOLD OF ANY OFFERS OF ANY CONTESTS, PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, REGARDLESS OF ANY PRE-EXISTING BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP OR ABSENCE THEREOF.

***

why dont you people work on the behalf of the people for once and earn your pay instead of selling out to special intrest groups.this is crap! no one wants all these damn calls every freekin time you answer the phone.If you let this go through I will personally have my phone disconnected,how the hell will you like it when the phone companies go out of business?you allow hundreds of junk mailers go out stop the damn phone calls!!!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Another round of comments

Here are some of the comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com since Friday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

I do not want to be called at any time by solicitors.

***

Thank you to the Attorney General for trying to save the do not call list. I have contacted my local bank who is participating in efforts to end the no call list, and sent them an e-mail deploring their unprofessional behavior that certainly does not respresent care of their customers. Our right to privacy should be upheld. There is no reason why they need to invade our private homes with calls related to their business. They already send us information in the mail, which we can read and decide a response, without it interefering in our personal family time. This effort to do away with the no-call list does not sound like something a democracy would support. The banks are definately thinking only of themselves and not their customers. We are not invading their private lives, why should they be granted the ability to invade ours? I didn't think a democracy should fold to such evil pressure. How strong is our democratic government, and who will prote! ct the right of the individual private citizen from such invasion, unless it is the govenment who has been given authority to protect us from such personal attacks against our privacy? Stand up as the protector of the greater good of the public, against the personal interest of a few. The do not call list eliminated a lot of interuption to individual personal privacy and safety - please do whatever you can to continue to represent and protect the privacy of the American Citizen and demonstrate how powerful you are, as a representative of the people, to protect us and support only efforts to respect our privacy. Shoot down these private interest groups and their efforts to serve only themselves - and the the private citizen be damned!

***

I do not appreciate the fact that a business can block my peace and quiet by taking away the do not call list. I enjoy the quiet time my family and I have in the evenings. As an employee of a locally owned bank, we had been warned that some of the other area banks were trying to take down the no call list and we were told we were not a participant in that. I think it's pretty sad when you have to make sales calls on the phone to find business. Maybe this should tell you something about your bank.

***

I'm getting a little P'Oed about this do not call list thing being overtunred or whatever
The people have spoken. Businesses, it would seem that you are not wanted to harrass people over & over again to get new customers
Now I understand the need to make more $ but if the people of Indy don't want to be distrubed when they r sleeping,having dinner or enjoying quiet time then please for the love of the Lord himself, get it through those thick skulls of yours.....businesses & CEO's of that businesses...leave us alone that want to be left alone!

***

The list has a purpose. Let it stand. I do want to be called by tele-marketers! If I need anything, I'll get it on my own. I do not want help from tele-marketers. Get them away from my phone number. I pay for my phone, for my home's private use.

***

The banks and credit card cos are always sending inserts as to protecting your privacy. Now they are trying to do just the opposite .If my bank does not give up on the no call I will change my banking habits and deposit my accounts in a bank that will respect my privacy .If I want a service I am sure there are many ways for me to find the right place for me .Keep up the good work STEVE CARTER Thank you for upholding our rights for privacy .

***

I do not think it that the banks need to have the right to call and interupt our family time. The almighty dollar seems to be the issue here. Family is more important. Children go to sleep before 9 or 10 PM. The phone ringing makes it impossible to keep children asleep.It has been so nice to sit down for a meal and not be interupted by phone. If this is reinstated I only see one alternative and that is to remove the phone. Another alternative would be to use the phone for emergency purposes only and turn the ringer off. Please don't allow this to happen. Evenings are for families not to be bothered by the phone ringing all the time.

***

Having dealt with Wells Fargo I had decided to stop dealing with because any contact led to a barrage of horrendous telemarketers many using tactics which made you feel the contact was a followup on your recent activity.(such as a mortgage reselting in calls concerning credit cards "free checking" etc,)
Local personnel at the bank were embarrassed but claimed the calls were authoriozed above them. My home is a home again the dozens of calls have stopped and dinner is a time for discussions not interruptions and frustrations caused by the bottoms of society bothering my family.
Indiana is about family values let's expand the do not call list to businesses or e-mail and further expand the time my family has interruption free. BUT FIGHT FOR WHAT WE HAVE LETS NOT GO BACK TO WHERE WE WERE.

***

We registered with Indiana's Do Not Call List to keep unwanted callers from soliciting us by telephone. Period! Translated in plain English that means WE DO NOT WANT TO BE CALLED!! Before Indiana's Do Not Call List, we were receiving 12 to 20 calls per day, in spite of the fact, that we had requested to be on each and every business or charitable entity's do not call list!! We have never purchased from, nor contributed to, any telephone solicitor; but that didn't stop them from calling us. We told them we would take our business elsewhere if they didn't stop their telephone harassment of us; but that didn't stop them from calling us. We did take our business elsewhere; but that didn't stop them from calling us. We've had a non-published phone number for years; but it's worthless, since businesses commonly "share" our phone number with others for the right price. Purchasing Caller ID from our telephone company didn't help either because telemarketers can easily purchase software from our telephone company that masks their identity from the caller ID, which our telephone company sold us to help us stop unwanted calls! Praise to the Almighty Dollar!

At the very least, these unwanted calls constitute harassment, trespass and a total disregard for our property rights, since we own our telephone equipment and we pay to lease our telephone lines. We have the legal right to keep unwanted people from entering our property and have them arrested if they don't comply. It doesn't matter whether they try to force their way in through the front door, sneak in through the back door, break in through a window, or slither in through our telephone line. They are denying us our legal right to the quiet enjoyment of our property. But they do far more damage than that! They deny children their much-needed naps. They deny second and third shifters their eight hours of sleep, thereby forcing them to drive in a sleep-deprived state, which is a leading cause of traffic accidents. They cause pain and suffering to people who are ill, recovering from surgery or handicapped. Speaking from experience, it is impossible to answer the telephone without enduring excruciating pain when one's back is broken; but explaining that to them didn't stop them from calling us.

In fact, virtually NOTHING STOPPED THEM FROM CALLING US until Indiana passed their Do Not Call legislation! The federal law is no substitute for Indiana's law. Perhaps those who want to weaken our law should be held accountable for ALL OF THE DESTRUCTION resulting from this gross invasion of our right to privacy.

***

I agree to the utmost with the many commentors here. Telemarketing companies please ,get the picture !!! WE DO NOT WANT YOU CALLING OUR HOMES!! LEAVE US ALONE!! I can not understand for the life of me why some companies think it is a good idea to bother people at home for a buck. It makes no sense. The more you anger me the more I don't want your business. I get enough junk mail, e-mail, and tv ads as it is. What makes them think they have the right to call us against our will. I for one support any effort to preserve the Do Not Call list.

***

The telephone do-not-call list is about the only respite I have gotten from the massive invasions of my privacy. If these people(CBA)succeed, we should all buy a Kelly Bundy whistle for the telephone. Or is there some better technology to retaliate against these privacy invaders?

***

Please work to preserve the current status of the Do Not Call List. Allowing banks a llop hole around this law would result as a hole in the dike of unwanted calls invading our privacy.

I would like to point out that there are many aged and mentally
disabled people through out our state that do not need the added burden of unsolicited tel-marketers preying on their dismenished decision making capacity.

Our entire family is prepared to move our buisness from any finacial institution that supports over turning the current law and we will encourge other to do the same.

South Bend Trib on Do Not Call

The South Bend Tribune ran this story last week on the fight to save Do Not Call. Masson's Blog offered its own commentary on one of the quotes in the story:

I loved this brilliant nonresponse by National City Bank to complaints from its customers:

National City spokeswoman Terri Wilson said Tuesday a relatively small number of customers had contacted the bank to express concern.

The bank answered the concerns with assurances National City respects their privacy and will comply with all applicable telemarketing laws, said Wilson.
Well thank you very much Terri Wilson! That's the *&$^% point. Hoosiers want Indiana law to be the applicable telemarketing laws. By supporting the CBA position, you're saying that you do not in fact respect privacy since you want the applicable telemarketing law to be the more permissive federal law that will allow National City Bank and its ilk to call me to peddle its crap while I'm eating or spending some quality time with my child.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Still more comments

Yes, we have even more comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com, these since Wednesday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

Count me as an impressed voter for our Attorney General. Few politicians follow through on their proposals as well as he has and our lives have been enriched for his efforts. Let's support him, and ourselves, to the best of our ability. I have e-mailed and called my bank, Wells Fargo, to no avail. I will be switching to a non-member (of CBA) bank for future business and want to impress upon all that this will not only allow your bank to call, but also any of their affiliates (read their privacy rules) which means that Citigroup (a CBA member) can call you as well as their brokerage firm Smith Barney or vice versa. If you check your vendor lists you may be surprised who is affiliated with whom. I already see Discover, MBNA and some mutual fund companies that I do business with are all on the CBA member list and that alone is scary, may cost me some personal relationships and possibly money but long term it will be worth it.

***

I certainely have enjoyed the peace and " non ringing" solitude of my weekends. Forget trying to take a nap on Sunday afternoon before Steve Carter implemented the do not call list. I received calls from 7:30AM - 10:00PM on a continual basis, daily.Forget trying to be polite to these peace disturbing ,home wrecking, interupters of privacy ,no quality of life companies, that do not take no for an answer. For every refusal I was plagued with five additional phone calls from the same company on the same day.I even started to ask them to contribute to my favorite charity the preservation of the Riegle children college fund. Somehow,they did not seem to find this amusing. BUT!!!! Behold The Underlying Truth!!! I did not find their imposition on my time, telephone and household amusing either. I voted for Mr. Carter because he found these unsoliticed telephone calls for what they are annoying!!!! and did something wonderful. If we do not save the do not call list! , I will be forced to save my sanity by removing Mr. Bells' invention from my home.
Thank-you for allowing me to speak my uinsolicited response.

***

Plese do not interrupt our lives with these calls! My family and I will not do business with a corporation that feels they can disrupt our lives, on any day, time or evening. These times are special to us.

I, nor my family, would not do any business with a company that feels they can "come into our home" without an invitation. Our dearest friend would not do this, please don't do this either.

YOU'RE NOT INVITED! GET THE MESSAGE! We will not do business, nor vote for anyone who would approve of this outrageous interruption against our wishes!

***

I pay for my telephone service they don't. I believe I should have a say to stop these calls. If they pay $90.00 monthly for my telephone sevice and only than can they call me and only once monthly. These calls are just as bad as spam every day in my emails. It's a darn shame that we don't have a say in this, where has are freedom gone? This is not freedom this is dictatorship. It's not right, it's not fair, and it's not freedom. I don't want them calling me at all!!!!

***

I have greatly appreciated being on Indiana's Do Not Call list. It has been wonderful to not receive telemarketing calls--some of which were made without any respect to the time of day, and some of which were rude. Instead of detracting from Indiana's Do Not Call list, I recommend that the Federal Do Not Call list guidelines be upgraded. The ideal would be that no organization be an exception for the Do Not Call list. It is inappropriate for consumers to have their telephone lines used for telemarketing purposes. It is the consumers who pay for the telephone service, not the telemarketers, and getting Caller ID to screen out telemarketers would add to the consumers' expense.

***

I pay my phone bill, the banks don't. When the time comes that the banks do pay for my phone, then they would have the right to call me any time they wanted. My phone is for my convenience, not the banks'.

***

This is the letter that I sent to the CBA Directors. I live in Columbus. The following states my position on this travisty.

To: CBA Directors
This is in regard to the Do Not Call List. Before requesting to be included on this list, my family received at least 10 calls EVERY day from solicitors, telemarketers, credit card offers, etc. It was infuriating. Since I have signed up on the No Call List, I have gotten my privacy back.
It is my hope that this law will not be weakened and the calls be allowed to begin again. I am not interested in telephone solicitations and never have been. You are not welcome to call me without my permission. It is a most unwelcome invasion of my home and my time.
I am certain that the other residents of Indiana who have signed up on this list have done so for a reason and that is so that we are not bothered by these intrusions.
It is unbelievable that we have to have a law that protects us against these invaders of our homes. And it is even more unbelievable that it is possible that this protection may be removed without my permission.
I cannot express how strongly I feel about this. Do not weaken this law.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Even more reader comments

Here are some of the comments from readers over SaveDoNotCall.com since yesterday. You can submit comments of your own by clicking here.

I have been signed up on the do not call list since it started.
And I think they are great.
I just moved back to Indiana form Las Vegas where I worked all shifts and I know what it feels like to get a phone call when I was trying to sleep.
Please do what it takes to stop the distruction of the do not call list.

While I am here please do something with this time zone problem

Thanks

***

My comments to the banks responsible for this latest mess
---------------------------------------------------------
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Your time is valuable and so is mine, so I'll be direct and to the point. Like countless other individuals in the state of Indiana, I placed my name on the state DO NOT CALL LIST for reasons that should be obvious to anyone of average intelligence. Nevertheless, the disturbing news recently released by the Attorney General's office has made it clear that I cannot make assumptions about who will be reading this, so I'll spell it out:

I DO NOT WANT TO BE CALLED ON THE TELEPHONE, NOR MAILED, WHETHER ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE, BY ANY INDIVIDUAL, ELECTRONIC OR MECHANICAL DEVICE, OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY CORPORATION OR OTHER ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOLICITING DONATIONS OR PARTICIPATION IN ANY BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP OR TRANSACTION, NOR FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFORMING ME OR MY HOUSEHOLD OF ANY OFFERS OF ANY CONTESTS, PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, REGARDLESS OF ANY PRE-EXISTING BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP OR ABSENCE THEREOF.

The gross negligence demonstrated by the FCC in pandering to the Clear Channel corporation instead of protecting the public interest brings little reassurance of any privacy protection at the federal level. Indeed, I am confident that endless deluge of television advertisements will be quite sufficient to keep me informed of any commercial matter that warrants my attention.

Since it is in fact the almighty dollar that is of the utmost importance to major corporations and the government officials they employ, we the people must defend ourselves in a manner that will be understood by the decision makers of corporate America.

Therefore, make no mistake about this: failure on the part of an organization to respect my right to privacy will result in the termination of any existing business relationship between me and that organization and it will preclude any future relationship. After all, if I can't trust an organization to respect my privacy, how can I trust that organization to respect me as a customer?

In closing, I would caution readers to reconsider any notion that I might be some radical individual with a unique perspective on this matter. Instead, count the number of private citizens on Indiana's do not call list, and ask yourselves what percentage of these citizens can corporate America afford to alienate.

***

I completely agree with the DO NOT CALL list; however, I do not agree that businesses with current clients cannot call their own clients. This is ridiculous. I am on the Indiana DNC list and intend to stay on it, but I expect those businesses with whom I do business to call me, especially my financial planner. This law will destroy many small business owners.

Please research this further and reconsider not allowing businesses to contact current clients via telephone.

***

The "Do Not Call" list must stay intact and in operation.

I am a widow and do not appreciate receiving sales calls of any nature. If I want to purchase or subscribe to anything, I want to "initiate" the action --- not vice versa! It is very frustrating to receive requests for donations from unsolicited individuals/companies. Or, for that fact, sales calls of any nature.

I used to get "sales calls", or worse yet, calls soliciting donations to one thing or another --- the Do Not Call list has silenced these types of calls.

We must not allow these types of calls to begin again.

***

I really appreciate the NO Call - now I would like to see that it eliminates all unwanted calls. I get calls from veterans groups - cancer - all charitable organizations. I finally have told them NO and take my name off their listing. But they do not heed that. I am on a fixed income - I donate what I can to who I want to. This is ridiculous to think that the phone is for sales - donations. I still get calls around dinner time - late in the evening - If they call again after I have told them to take my name off their list I will report them and certainly will tell all my friends not to donate to that group.

***

It's a very very simple explanation. I don't want to be botherd by promotions I have no interest in. If I wanted to do business with them, believe me, I would contact them. If the banks are so hot on this, how about they pay my "phone bill" each month. Then I have no problem with them calling. However, I still won't answer. Glad we have and Attorney General fighting for us. Keep up the good work.

The fight to defend Do Not Call comes to Evansville

The Attorney General went to Evansville on Tuesday in continuing efforts to round up support for the fight to keep Indiana's Do Not Call law intact. The Evansville Courier & Press (registration required) has the details:

'The law is now under assault'

Steve Carter brings his no-call fight to Evansville

By BILL MEDLEY Courier & Press staff writer
February 23, 2005

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter on Tuesday said several more Indiana banks should withdraw their support for a proposed change to the state's no-call law.

During a brief stop in Evansville, Carter asked bank customers to call banks that belong to the Consumer Bankers Association to oppose a petition he says will weaken consumer privacy.

"The law is now under assault," Carter said at a press conference at Tri-State Aero. "What they're trying to do is change the rules in the middle of the game."

The CBA petition asks the Federal Communications Commission to preempt the Indiana do-not-call law with the federal no-call law. The federal law allows companies to contact people they have had a business relationship with in the last 18 months, while Indiana's law prohibits businesses from making calls to anyone who has signed up for the state do-not-call list.

CBA argues the change would allow banks to contact customers and would eliminate conflicting laws.

"It was really a sneak attack by the banks going to Washington," Carter said. He has embarked on a $30,000-a-day campaign on the issue. It includes television advertisements.

Two Evansville banks that belong to CBA, Integra and Old National, have dropped support for CBA's petition. Another CBA member, Fifth Third, has not taken action.

Other banks targeted by the attorney general are National City, Wells Fargo, KeyBank, Bank One, Huntington Bank and PNC Bank.

Carter said he sent a letter to Fifth Third asking it to drop its support of the CBA's petition. He said a Fifth Third representative from Indianapolis thanked him for the letter and "would take my views into account."

Fifth Third officials have said the bank is not actively seeking to change the Indiana law. The bank has also said the goal of the CBA petition is to simplify no-call requirements by using the federal law.

Carter said he didn't buy that argument.

"Since we went to cross-state banking ... they've had to comply with Indiana laws in many ways," Carter said of banks based in other states. "It is disingenuous for these multi-billion dollar entities to say it's too complicated."

Carter said he didn't agree that banks' business would suffer from not being able to call customers who sign up for the state do-not-call list. "There are many other marketing channels," Carter said. In a statement, the CBA said Carter painted an inaccurate picture of what could occur if the FCC approves its petition.

"Under federal law, consumers have the right to request not to receive future calls from individual companies - including those with which they have an established business relationship," CBA President Joe Belew said. "It is simply not true, therefore, that federal law will permit telemarketers to make repeated calls to consumers against (their) wishes," Belew added.
TV station WFIE has more.