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Do-not-call registry near

November 23, 2010
Make any needed telemarketing changes by Oct. 1

Dealers who conduct telemarketing should make sure their practices are modified by Oct. 1, when the national do-not-call list takes effect. Under the FTC's amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, dealers can call only customers who (1) have provided written consent in advance of any call, (2) have made a purchase within the last 18 months, or (3) have contacted the dealership with an inquiry in the past 90 days. Al Babbington, chief executive of CallCommand, a Web-based calling system used by dealers to maintain close relationships with their customers, offers the following compliance guidelines: • Clean up your Dealer Management System (DMS) database. Merge, purge and cleanse the data so that you have a clear understanding of who has done business with you in the past 18 months. • Centralize your prospect initiatives. Keep Internet, showroom and phone prospects in a single file so that you can easily identify prospects who have not inquired in the last 90 days. • Talk to your "Lost Souls." Sales and service customers who have not done business with you in the past 18 months are great prospects for a "welcome back" offer. Call them before Oct. 1 to deliver an offer, and thus re-establish a relationship, or the right to communicate with them in the future will be lost. • Add opt-in language to your privacy policy. Get express permission to call on an opt-in basis with your customers and prospects. • Maintain a dealer-specific no-call list. Ensure that all employees who use the telephone understand the importance of compliance. • Telemarketers still must properly identify themselves as a seller and explain that they are making a sales call before pitching a product or service. For more on complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule, go to the Federal Trade Commission's Web site, pubs/buspubs/tsrcomp.htm