#039;Do Not Call#039; has pros and cons

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

The passage of the federal "Do Not Call Registry" is another milestone in our search for privacy and sanctuary. Enrollment in the registry, which is strictly voluntary on the part of the consumer, and mandatory for the solicitor, can severely limit those frustrating, invasive and irritating telemarketing calls that always seem to come at the wrong time.

But like many things done for our protection, it will have its downside. Many industries, like newspapers and telephone providers draw the bulk of their subscriber list from telephone solicitations. Despite recent signs of life in the economy,

things are still tough all over, and there has to be some concern for those industries.

In Alabama, however,

those industries, as well as, many, many others, are protected, but not on the federal level. The Federal "Do Not Call" list applies only to state-to-state calls, which means we won't be getting phone calls from a life insurance salesman from Detroit, but we will still be getting calls from the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties in Washington D.C. every time the election rolls around. We'll still get calls from charities, and in our state, from many, many businesses that have snuck through the Swiss cheese of exemptions the state registry provides. In fact, looking at the list of those who are allowed to call us at home, we have to wonder who is not allowed.

Overall, we believe the registry is a good idea. If those telemarketers truly bother us, we can weed them out. In fact, we could wish Alabama were as stringent in its application as the government, even though our own industry would be affected. Perhaps, in the spirit of fairness, it should be a case of "All or none."

There is nothing as innovative as the world of marketing. We have no doubts that, with the telephone avenue now restricted, the marketers will find yet another way to invade our privacy with their pitches. Until then, we might get to sit down to an uninterrupted dinner for a change.