Telemarketer Fees May Increase

WaPo: Telemarketer Fees May Increase

The Federal Trade Commission wants to significantly increase the fees telemarketers must pay to gain access to the national do-not-call list.

The agency said not as many telemarketers are paying for the list as it had expected; as a result, it is proposing to raise fees from $25 to $45 for every area code for which a telemarketer wants to know the numbers that are not to receive solicitations. For telemarketers seeking many area codes, the maximum cost would climb from $7,375 to $12,375. Telemarketers must buy the list, or they risk having to pay fines if consumers complain about receiving unwanted calls from them.

So far, the FTC’s Lois C. Greisman said, the agency has collected between $10 million and $12 million, short of the $18 million budgeted to run and enforce the do-not-call list for the first year.

Now, I’m all for sticking it to telemarketers. But is there another enterprise in the country that, faced with slower than expected sales, radically increases prices?

It’s also rather unorthodox for government to sanction people if they engage in a certain behavior and then keep that behavior a secret, revealed only to those who pay for it. You’d think some enterprising firm would buy the list and then sell it to subscribers at a fraction of the original cost. Or that the telemarketers would form an association that shares the list.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Perhaps they are bailing out of the business instead of buying the lists. If everyone is on the list, then they are paying for the opportunity to go out of business.

  2. Blogeline says:

    That does seem a little strange of a business practice, if you can call it that. But then I was thinking too, what if that list was available without charge, and anybody (even non-telemarketers) could get it and everybody’s telephone numbers are on there? Of course they could set up some kind of system where one has to regsiter as a telemarketer, but I am sure that with paying for the list really only those people or companies that do not want to get fined for calling the wrong person, buy the list.