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