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Telemarketers warn of layoffs
Contra Costa Times ^ | October 1, 2003 | Amy Shafer

Posted on 10/02/2003 12:31:14 PM PDT by AZLiberty

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Losing millions of potential customers to a "do-not-call" list will almost certainly mean big layoffs at telemarketing companies, where employees already hang from one of the working world's lower rungs.

Some 2 million of the 6.5 million people who work in the industry will lose their jobs, according to the American Teleservices Association. It based its estimate on the Federal Trade Commission's prediction that 60 million Americans will eventually add their home telephone numbers to the national "do-not-call list.

According to the association, 64 percent of telemarketers are minorities, 30 percent are recent recipients of some kind of public assistance, 26 percent are single mothers, and 5 percent are physically disabled.

"These are folks who are not gonna find it easy to find a job," said Tim Searcy, the group's executive director.

The Direct Marketing Association, another industry group, asked its member companies to stop calling households on the list starting next Wednesday, even though a court battle over its legality may not be resolved by then.

A U.S. District Court judge in Denver on Thursday blocked the list on free-speech grounds. FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said Friday the agency will fight the decision, backed by new legislation rushed through Congress giving the commission more power in the matter.

There are about 166 million residential phone numbers in the United States, and telemarketers attempt up to 104 million calls to consumers and businesses every day, according to the FTC.

The reason the telemarketing industry finds itself in hot water -- folks are long tired of annoying, unsolicited calls -- is the key ingredient for the industry's success. Experts say that if just 2 percent or 3 percent of the people called buy the product being pitched, the effort is profitable.

Some telemarketing companies, such as Atlantic Tele Center, which operates in Guyana, already have laid off employees in anticipation of the registry.

ICT Group, based in Newtown, Pa., said client concerns about the registry already have contributed to losses. The company, with 11,000 employees worldwide, handles telemarketing for clients that include banking and telecommunications firms.

Other smaller firms that make calls on a contract basis for other businesses have said they'll close down rather than spend the thousands of dollars necessary to upgrade systems so they can comply with the new federal regulations.

"I think it probably will hurt some companies, and particularly the smaller operations would have a harder time absorbing the economics of adjusting to the latest regulations," said Brian M. McCutcheon, founder of SoftReach Services, Gilroy, an independent consulting practice that has helped some companies satisfy the latest government regulations.

He noted that some experts think the lists may actually help telemarketers do business more efficiently. "There's another school of thought that says these are people who are predisposed to decline any offer that you'd make on the telephone ... or to not even answer the phone, so you're actually improving to the extent that you're dealing with a pool of people who are more likely to be open to be purchasing something through a phone call."

Some companies insist the effects will be slight. They say most of their business comes from inbound calls, or from outbound calls that aren't targeted by the regulations, including existing or former customers. Companies may continue to call people on the list if they've done business with them in the past 11/2 years.

Tom Davis, the head of the nation's largest employee-owned teleservices company, Kansas City-based USA 800, said his firm, which takes mostly inbound calls, is feeling the effects of the registry already as other subcontractors that make outbound calls seek his company's business. With competition increasing, he said, some subcontractors have started offering unusually low prices for their services.

"We're seeing some price competition that we haven't seen in the past, and I attribute it to everybody really anticipating what's gonna happen here," said Davis, whose company has calling centers in suburban Kansas City, St. Joseph, Mo., and Chicago.

Telemarketers must check the federal do-not-call list every three months to determine who does not want to be called. Those who call households in the register could be fined up to $11,000 per violation.

These are not new hurdles for many telemarketing companies. Already, more than two dozen states have implemented their own do-not-call lists -- some of which offer more stringent guidelines than the FTC's.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: donotcall; layoffs; telemarketing
I hate telemarketers (we gave up our land line for cell phones before "Do Not Call" came along), and I'd hate to see Bush lose next year, but the new anti-telemarketing legislation may be the undoing of the economy. Unless new jobs can be found for literally millions of telemarketers -- and employees of companies who depend on them for sales leads -- employment is going to take a big hit.
1 posted on 10/02/2003 12:31:15 PM PDT by AZLiberty
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2 posted on 10/02/2003 12:32:16 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: AZLiberty
If you want to see more articles along these lines, search on news.google.com for "telemarketing layoffs", or just click here.
3 posted on 10/02/2003 12:35:02 PM PDT by AZLiberty
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To: AZLiberty
"Layoffs in Telemarketing; Women, Minorities Most Affected; Bush Blamed" <-- tomorrow's NYT headline
4 posted on 10/02/2003 12:36:42 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Right Wing Crazy #5338526)
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To: AZLiberty
This problem is free speech, but you will never see the ACLU come to the aid of anything that might undermine Bush and the economy.

I rather enjoy telemarketers.
I don'y buy anything, but I like to guess the state they call from.
Accents is one of my hobbies.

I've had 15 minute conversations with several people discussing their home towns and what we have in common.

Many Americans are rude, conceited and too lazy to even be concerned about other people and their jobs!

5 posted on 10/02/2003 12:45:05 PM PDT by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
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To: AZLiberty
Telemarketing is an obnoxious and intrusive low-cost alternative to direct mail and email spam.

Telemarketers do not directly support the telecom infrastructure, and many of these little makeshift shops are no more than boilerroom operations, set up in Canada in order to flout state laws which otherwise restrict them.

Print advertising, Mail delivery, internet advertising, direct marketing, all are helped by this; so lay them all off, close them all down, and get the economy back on its feet and give joe blow some peace and quiet!

6 posted on 10/02/2003 12:45:35 PM PDT by Cobra Scott
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To: AZLiberty
Unless new jobs can be found for literally millions of telemarketers -- and employees of companies who depend on them for sales leads -- employment is going to take a big hit.

You mean like the debt consolidation scam that telephoned me last night?

7 posted on 10/02/2003 1:03:37 PM PDT by snarkpup
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To: CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
Many Americans are rude, conceited and too lazy to even be concerned about other people and their jobs!


Sorry I cannot agree with you I am interested in other people and their jobs but at my time not while I am eating or conversing with my family members and not on the telephone while I am home after a hard day at work maybe if I were retired and had plenty of time on my hands I might be a little more tolerant. I dont consider myself rude or conceited.
8 posted on 10/02/2003 1:33:07 PM PDT by bikerman
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To: bikerman
Sorry I cannot agree with you I am interested in other people and their jobs but at my time not while I am eating or conversing with my family members and not on the telephone while I am home after a hard day at work

Oh, you are one of those rich, insensitive, obese Republicans.

Talk and eat....talk and eat....never time to listen.........

;>)

9 posted on 10/02/2003 1:41:53 PM PDT by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
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To: AZLiberty
No Fair. Willie Green has exclusive posting rights to all stories highlighting layoffs. Did you clear this with him first?
10 posted on 10/02/2003 1:45:46 PM PDT by been_lurking
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To: AZLiberty
Har, har. Experience tells me that more computer generated dial-ups and voice tapes are going to be put out of work--let 'em clean car windshields at traffic stops like everyone else.
11 posted on 10/02/2003 1:49:35 PM PDT by fat city (Julius Rosenberg's soviet code name was "Liberal")
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To: bikerman
I guess I'm the rude one then. I pick up phone, learn it's a telemarketer and hit on the of buttons on the phone and hold for at least 30 seconds. And that's one of my kinder approaches. I much preferred the good old days when the phone line didn't clear when the caller hung up. In those days I used to get them started on their spiel, and then set the phone down and walk away. It made it much more difficult for them to move on to the next call once they realized no one was listening. Oh well, coming up with new irritants to their irritating calls is kind of a hobby....
12 posted on 10/02/2003 1:49:52 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
I do not like unwanted phone calls. The courts seem to over look the fact that it is the people who are paying for those telephones, and not the telemarketers. Let the telemarkters have all the free speech that they want over the telephones that they pay for.
13 posted on 10/02/2003 1:50:51 PM PDT by tessalu
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To: been_lurking
Hey, I think you're right. After all, he's still concerned about all those buggywhip manufacturers that went out of business because of that nasty ol' Henry Ford. Here we are again. How ever will those low-paid call center employees ever find work in a new industry?
14 posted on 10/02/2003 1:51:38 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: AZLiberty
Some 2 million of the 6.5 million people who work in the industry will lose their jobs, according to the American Teleservices Association. ... According to the association, 64 percent of telemarketers are minorities, 30 percent are recent recipients of some kind of public assistance, 26 percent are single mothers, and 5 percent are physically disabled.

Yes, you can count on this for being the Truth. The DMA and this trade group say so. It must be true.

15 posted on 10/02/2003 2:08:20 PM PDT by Gorzaloon (Contents may have settled during shipping, but this tagline contains the stated product weight.)
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To: AZLiberty
Maybe they can all become handymen. I never can get any of them to return my calls, because they're all so busy.
16 posted on 10/02/2003 2:24:07 PM PDT by keats5 (And don't you dare correct my spelling!)
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To: tessalu
The courts seem to over look the fact that it is the people who are paying for those telephones, and not the telemarketers.

Whoa nellie!

Did you ever get a collect call telemarketer?

ringgggggg.......ringggggggg....

Hello?

Is this tessalu?

Yes it is.

Will you accept the charge for a collect call from retired General Wesley Clark's campaign chairman?

Yes, of course!

tessalu, we are selling front seat tickets on the first time machine to the future.
Can we count on you for two tickets?

Sure.....how much do they cost?

Well, it's buy one, get one free.

Sign me up........

17 posted on 10/02/2003 2:39:00 PM PDT by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
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To: anniegetyourgun
How ever will those low-paid call center employees ever find work in a new industry?

Worse yet, they will probably move the few remianing jobs off-shore (India and China are prime suspects.) Imagine getting a call from China asking you if you would like to purchase light bulbs that last for 25 years.

18 posted on 10/02/2003 3:01:03 PM PDT by been_lurking
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To: anniegetyourgun
That was my favorite also. Now I just ask them what kind of underwear they are wearing and what color it is. I figure this serves two purposes. One, it gets them to hang up on me (small victory) and two, it gives them something to talk about after work.
19 posted on 10/02/2003 3:04:52 PM PDT by been_lurking
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To: AZLiberty
and employees of companies who depend on them for sales leads -

Bastiat's parable of the glazier strikes again.

It's unlikely that most of the people who commonly buy from telemarketers are liable to take the money they save and bury it in the back yard. It'll be spent somewhere else, generating jobs just the same.

20 posted on 10/02/2003 3:58:45 PM PDT by Charlotte Corday
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To: AZLiberty
Some 2 million of the 6.5 million people who work in the industry will lose their jobs, according to the American Teleservices Association. ... According to the association, 64 percent of telemarketers are minorities, 30 percent are recent recipients of some kind of public assistance, 26 percent are single mothers, and 5 percent are physically disabled.

Hmm, let's see.....

Seems like the sensitive folks at the ATA who keep track of these things should:

1. Ensure that the disabled (5%=325,000) telemarketers remain on the job. This will leave only 1,675,000 telemarketers to be laid off.

2. Ensure that most of the single mother (26%=1,690,000) remain on the job. If some of the single mothers are also disabled, the ATA gets a two-fer, and may be able to save the jobs of all the single mother telemarketers.

3. Inform the minority and on-the-dole telemarkaters that 2 million on them won't be able to continue to harass folks via the telephone anymore. Of course, some of the minority and/or on-the-dole telemarketers might also be single mothers, and/or disabled, so the ATA might get a three-fer as well.

4. Say good night to their ATA partners (you know, the big boys who really benefit from telemarketing), and drive home in their Mercedes, to their million dollar holmes, feeling good that they have taken action to save those all important telemarketing jobs for those that are the most needy.

21 posted on 10/02/2003 4:08:26 PM PDT by Col Freeper
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To: AZLiberty
Some 2 million of the 6.5 million people who work in the industry will lose their jobs, according to the American Teleservices Association.

Let them get legitimate jobs working inbound call centers. Judging from the amount of time I have to wait on hold when I want to do business on the phone, there's a severe shortage in that field.

22 posted on 10/03/2003 7:39:31 AM PDT by steve-b
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