Companies that relied heavily on telemarketing were hit hard by the Do Not Call list. They were severely limited in doing cold calls over the telephone. Anyone on the Do Not Call list was off-limits, and today that totals about 145 million phone numbers.
One of the ways companies get around the list, is by using something called a “lead card.” They send materials to consumers, and the consumers are asked to send back an enclosed reply for free information about the product or service. When a consumer sends back that card, she or he has unknowingly given the compay permission to call, even if the consumer is on the Do Not Call list.
Prosecutors are beginning to crack down on the deception behind the lead cards. Some companies have falsely implied they were affiliated with the federal government or certain advocacy groups in order to entice consumers to sent back the replies. Some are blatantly deceitful, making statements about changes in Medicare benefits or new legislation passed by Congress.
Little do consumers know that many of the cards will be given to salespeople who will begin making the phone calls. Many of these cards are being sent by marketing companies that later sell the leads to insurance agents, investment representatives, or people peddling trusts or other estate-planning products.
Marketers are banking on the portion of the Do Not Call law that allows them to still call households on the registry if they have agreed in writing to receive the calls. But the Bureau of Consumer Protection says that businesses are not allowed to get that consent for phone calls by using ruses or deceptive tools.