Opinion

Telemarketers are the Spam of the phone lines

I remember this one episode of Seinfeld that hysterically satirizes the handling of calls from telemarketers. A telemarketer calls Jerry and asks for a moment of his time. Jerry replies that he is busy and unable to talk, but asks for the caller’s home phone number. The telemarketer answers that he is not allowed to do so. I guess he didn’t want to be bothered at home either.

This is pertinent because recently President Bush signed legislation to ratify the Federal Trade Commission’s authority. This legislation will help enforce the national do-not-call list that millions of Americans have signed up with in order to stop annoying calls. This is only one of many steps though because the issue will remain in judicial limbo for some time. This month will be a long fight for the do-not-call list.

Telemarketing companies are still arguing that the list violates their first amendment rights because it applies only to their organizations and not to charities. Do you know what I say to that? Charities are allowed to call because the American public cares about helping others. Charities are not looking for their own profit. They are looking out for the well being of others. Telemarketers are calling to make money for the company. That is the reason why charities are not on the list.

President Bush mentioned that patience is shortening with telemarketers. I agree with the President, as I am sure that many Americans do. These calls are bothersome and sometimes downright intrusive. The American people have demanded an end to these calls and therefore it should be obvious to some organizations that we do not want to hear about what they have to offer.

Their rights are not being infringed upon because they can still make calls to whomever they please as long as the number is not on the list. These companies also say that they are being forced to downsize because of lost business. That’s sad, but the fact of the matter is these calls are the real violation of rights.

Over the summer, I received telemarketing calls on my cell phone almost every day asking me about products that I do not care about and wasting valuable minutes from my life. I thought these calls were limited to land lines but now they are finding me everywhere. What is this? It’s exactly like the fight against Spam email: no one wants it. The do-not-call list is one of the greatest results of the American voice.

Ernesto Zaldivar is a freshman majoring in political science. He cannot be called at e.zaldivar@umiami.edu.

October 14, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.