State offers telemarketer repellent
- By Brian Robinson
- Sep 12, 2002
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Wisconsin recently became the latest state to install a telemarketer no-call
solution, in which residents can be registered as requesting no telephone
solicitations be made to them.
Such solicitations are the reason for increasing citizen complaints.
Telemarketing lands "in our top 10 list of complaints" every year, said
Fran Tryon, Wisconsin's consumer protection administrator.
More than half of the states already have legislation requiring such
no-call services. GovConnect Inc., which will host the Wisconsin service,
already supplies solutions to Ohio and Kansas, and is pursuing three to
five similar deals, said Jeff Ficke, the company's senior vice president
for new market strategy.
"We've supplied self-service citizen access programs to governments
for the past 10 years, so this seemed a natural fit to that vertical market,"
While some of the details can differ depending on the particulars of
a state's law, programs typically require citizens to register their no-call
requests via the Web or using an interactive voice response system.
The GovConnect system then compiles and distributes a database of the
barred phone numbers to solicitors on a quarterly basis.
Presently, if people who register continue to get solicitation calls,
they complain to the responsible state agency, which then follows up with
the solicitor. In the future, the GovConnect's solution will have some ability
to automatically handle such complaints also.
The technology part of the solution is relatively easy to deploy, Ficke
said. The harder part comes in building reports and managing distribution
to the phone solicitors, and then collecting the fees from solicitors who
pay for at least part of the service, he said, adding that some states may
prefer to fund the service internally.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.