Do Not Call Unless You're a Special Interest

My friend, mentor, and colleague Pete Lewis picks apart the federal do not call list exemptions. While he's right about there being too many exemptions, there are good reasons for a few.First, do we really want the federal (or state) government restricting political speech by maintaining a list -- even a voluntary one? No. I'd rather get 1,000 political calls (which have some return on investment behind them, but aren't typically boiler-room, make money fast operations) than to give government a simple means to prevent it. Second, insurance companies are exempt partly to provide necessary information. Of course they'll misuse this exemption, but, again, I'd rather get a few extra insurance calls -- I can't recall a single one I've ever received -- than to miss a serious problem that might result from issues with a company that hasn't established a business relationship with me but might have business with me. It happens. Third, if a company has done business with you, they can call you, but only for a limited time under limited circumstances. Further, they have to keep a local do not call list if you request them to specifically not call again. That's been federal law for some time, along the junk fax law. (The junk fax law is broken due to lack of recent enforcement. It's civil law, and I have thought about suing some of the junk faxers who have our number. You get $500 per incident -- if you can track them down and they can't prove a business relationship.) On the whole, even with the exemptions, it looks like 90 percent or more of the unsolicited calls we get could go away along with widespread job displacement. If two million people will lose their terrible, terrible telemarketing or indirectly related jobs, where do those jobs go? That means that the elderly and the unwise who reply to phone solicitations (even legitimate ones) will have more to spend on -- what? Perhaps just less to lose. My wife and I have had Caller ID for some time, and I used the Direct Marketing Association's own do not call list (telephone preferences, I think they call it) to remove our numbers. We currently receive very few calls, and we don't answer when the phone says Unknown Number.