Why is telemarketing legal?

I know, because there is no law against it :rolleyes: .

Really, if you asked random people on the street 99% would love for telemarketing to be banned. I usually don’t vote but if there was a ballot initiative to ban telemarketing I would be standing outside the polls with a sign. So why has no politition made a proposal to ban telemarketing? I would vote for him/her.

I would think the only people in favor of telemarketing are the buisnesses that do it. Are these buisnesses that powerfull or is it somehow protected by freedom of speech or something? Or does the majority of the population like being called by telemarketers and I just have been talking to the wrong people.

It’s called the First Amendment, dude. Time, place, and manner can all be regulated, but you can’t ban any form of speech outright.

And they must actually work. Or they would have dried up by now.

Someone must buy from them.

How about regulating the place - my home, and the manner - unsoliceted phone calls.

So the 1st amendment is what protects telemarketing? Has anyone tried to ban it and lost in court, or is it just assumed to be protected under freedom of speech?

I do know sombody must be buying their stuff or they would go out of buisness, but the cost of making a phone call must be so cheap they can bother 1000 people to make one sale.

Would you mind explaining how the First Amendment gives a telemarketer the right to use my telephone service (which I pay for) without my permission to waste my time with advertising I never requested? This is not even close to a free speech issue, as my telephone is not a public forum. The First Amendment does not give you the right to say whatever you want on whatever medium you want; otherwise, TV and radio stations would be compelled to broadcast every crackpot manifesto that was tossed over the transom. I say, ban 'em!

What form of telemarketing? Surveys? Solicitation? There are many types that are banned in the US, and that’s why they work out of Canada and South America, employing ruthless students and bums.

I think the telemarketers would argue that that’s what answering machines are for, so you can screen your calls and ignore 'em. Doesn’t make it less annoying, though.

I don’t know about your phone service, but I thought that typically you’re charged only for the outgoing calls you make (plus whatever flat fees and taxes, natch). If a telemarket calls you up and you chat with him for five hours, those five hours go on his bill, not yours.

Telemarketers have money. Each time a bill goes before congress or a legislature they start throwing their money around.

All we have are votes which are useless in American democracy. $ tells politicians what to do, not voters.

There are no 1st amendment issues here. Since many states have limited slightly telemarketers and said laws have generally held up.

Not protected by freedom of speech - the right to say their schpiel is protected, but there’s no ‘right’ to telemarket. Probably has something to do with the business. Telemarketing is used by all the major phone companies and provides jobs for the brain-dead, of which we know there’s plenty.

So what about door-to-door salespeople? Do THEY have a first amendment right to knock on my door and try to sell me stuff? Even if I put up a sign that says “No Soliciting?” No, they don’t. So the same thing via the telephone isn’t covered, either. And you can ask them until you’re blue in the face to stop calling, without effect. They feel safe from physical harm, so they persist.

The big reason that telemarketing is here to stay is because of politicians.
Sure they could write a law tomorrow to ban telemarketing, or make it so difficult that it would go the way of door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen.

The fact is that politicians view market research and telephone polling as important tools to gage the effectiveness of their campaigns. While they could create a law that permits telephone surveys but restrict selling over the telephone, the fact is that the telemarketers would try to slip into defining themselves as telephone research people and blur the lines between the two. Plus the courts don’t usually support laws that favor one group over another.

The solution to the whole method is to never buy anything over a telephone. If people didn’t buy into the telemarketer’s sales pitch, sales would drop and telemarketers would realize that it simply is not effective. So telemarketing thrives because one moron out of fifty called purchases something overpriced and virtually worthless.

This is what bugs me the most about Telemarketing/Spam. The durned idiot that actually buys or responds positively.

They’re ruining it for the rest of us!!

Your understanding of the First Amendment is completely incorrect. Telemarketing has nothing whatsoever to do with free speech.

The free speech clause in the Constitution applies to Congress.

A private organization or individual can restrict speech anyway it pleases, so long as the rights of others are not being infringed.

That said, telemarketing is legal because people don’t care enough about it to outlaw it. Telephone companies earn a lot of money from telemarketers, so they’re not likely to forbid the practice on their networks. Further, tradition has it that unsolicited direct mail is legal, so it would be hypocritical to ban one and not the other.

Finally, there are laws against types of telemarketing which cost the recipient money. Telemarketers may not legally call cell phones, and fax spamming is against the law because it wastes ink.

Exactly how have I been incorrect?

The OP asks “Why is TM still legal,” not “why doesn’t the phone company stop TM?” Legal, as in law, as in Congress (and, via the 14th Amendment, the state governments). Telephone companies have nothing to say about the law (well, no more than the rest of us).

TM, like direct-mail marketing, is a form of speech, and IS damn well protected by the 1st Amendment, but only to the extent that other rights are not violated. Thus, TM’ers may call, but not not to a wireless phone; they may make claims, but the claims must be true; some locales make automated calls illegal; the laws restricting advertising are not outright bans, they merely protect other rights.

Telemarketers do not operate under 1st Amendment protection, but that’s another topic.

Telemarketing is legal because companies have lots of money and have bought off the Politicians, essentially. The phone companies like it to, because they make money coming and going.

Caller ID is an example. Once they started getting some serious bucks on all the poor schmoes from that, they started offering Call Blocking. Soon, phone telecos started selling the telemarketers Caller Block ‘busting’ services.

Congress offered up a plate of warmed over doo-doo by suggesting a national database of “Do not Call” lists.

Thanks, guys. For nothing. The fact is, We’re the injured party. We shouldn’t have to do sqaut to prevent this. As far as I’m concerned, they have it completely bass ackwards. There should be a National “Please call me 5 times a day during dinnertime” database, for those that want telemarketing firms.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule makes telemarketers liable for $50 per call after you ask them to stop calling you. Unfortunately there are a number of exemptions, and you have to opt-out with each company separately. They are proposing some changes to the rule, including the creation of a centralized “do not call” list.

The opt-out model will never be effective at stopping phone or email spam though. Direct marketing needs to be made 100% opt-in, with harsh penalties for non-compliance. This won’t happen anytime soon, for reasons that other posters have pointed out.

If a telemarketer calls you, try this out:

Telemarketer: I’ve called to tell you about an exciting…
You: Oh, gosh, I’m so glad you called. I’m so lonely. Say, where do you live? You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve been having. There was this guy at work…

Here in Missouri we have a law that people can put their names on a state “Do Not Call” registry. Any telemarketer doing business in Missouri is supposed to get a copy of the registry and not call those people. Several fairly high profile cases are making their way through courrt (the state is suing Miss Cleo!)

The law is full of loopholes. It doesn’t cover telephone companies, charities, companies with whom you already have “a business relationship” etc. But half the households in Missouri signed up in the first 90 days or so, and as one who has been working at home for the last couple of months, I can tell you the number of calls from telemarketers has dropped tremendously.

Telemarketing is considered advertising, which means it’s not protected by the first amendment (advertisers years ago lost that when they tried to argue the first amendment let them say whatever they wanted about a product, truthful or not).

It isn’t banned because some people don’t object to it, and are willing to buy from telemarketers. The telemarketers do have a right to call these people. However, it is regulated, both on the hours allowed and on the requirement for a “do-not-call” list. If you’re annoyed by the calls, tell every one you get to be put on their “do-not-call” list. The number of calls will slowly go down. It worked for me (now, of course, I’m on the New York State do-not-call list, so the individuals don’t matter). Most people don’t know about this, and don’t bother.

I pay $16.30 per month for Residential Service, without which the telemarketers would have an awfully hard time calling me up every night at dinnertime. They have absolutely no constitutional right (First Amendment or otherwise) to use that circuit into my house without my permission. Since my number is unlisted, I have granted no “implied consent” that might be construed from a phonebook listing.