No-call list has a bad connection

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published May 1, 2003  | May 2003 issue

State offices have been besieged with complaints about telemarketing firms violating the state's newly implemented no-call list. The law took effect Jan. 1, and within two weeks, the state received some 2,500 complaints from residents still getting calls from telemarketers.

By February, more than 1 million phone numbers had been registered on the no-call list, and another 65,000 were waiting to be added when it is updated in April. The state attorney general's office is already investigating a long-distance carrier and other telemarketing companies that have not complied with the new law. Companies can be fined up to $100 for each violation.

More than 350 telemarketing companies had asked for the no-call list. Some businesses have complained about the law's complexity and ambiguity. For example, it allows telemarketing firms to call existing clients, but only about those types of products it already sells to such customers—like a telephone company looking to sell call waiting. Some complaints also stem from nonprofit telemarketing, which was generally exempted from the legislation unless the charity sells something subject to tax.

Ronald A. Wirtz