- The Washington Times - Friday, July 22, 2005

The Direct Marketing Association is trying to stop marketers’ calls, letters and e-mails at the grave.

The nation’s largest direct-marketing group set up a registry this week to remove dead people from telemarketing, e-mail and direct-mail lists — for a price.

For $1, family members can place a deceased person’s name on the DMA’s Deceased-Do-Not-Call list to prevent phone calls, letters and e-mails addressed to the deceased person.

The list is meant to ease family members’ grief from receiving a call asking for a deceased relative.

“The DMA recognizes how emotionally and logistically difficult the process of handling someone’s final affairs can be,” Pat Kachura, the association’s senior vice president for ethics and consumer affairs, said on the company’s Web site. The association did not return phone calls for comment yesterday.

The $1 fee covers credit-card verification of the person’s death and is meant to prevent a fraudulent listing, the association said.

“We’re concerned people will abuse the list, putting the names of friends on it, that kind of thing,” Ms. Kachura told the Associated Press. “So we’re very concerned that those who are on the list are those that should be on the list.”

The concept is similar to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call list, in which people can register their phone number and marketers who violate the list can be fined.

The Do-Not-Call list was set up in 2003 and now lists more than 97 million numbers.

The FTC’s Do-Not-Call list contains only phone numbers, not names, and is a free service. There are 97 million numbers listed, according to Lois Greisman, an associate director at the FTC who oversees the list.

The FTC has received complaints for about 1 percent of its listed numbers, she said. Violators can face legal action.

Ms. Greisman said the FTC calls the list “very successful,” citing individuals and even telemarketing groups who like the list.

“The telemarketing industry doesn’t want to call people who don’t want to receive calls and won’t make purchases,” Ms. Greisman said.

The Deceased-Do-Not-Call list is a listing of names, not phone numbers. Violators will not face legal action, but DMA’s statement says its member organizations must comply. The group plans to update the list once a month. The association, which has 5,200 corporate members in the United States and 44 other countries, also plans to provide the list to nonmember marketing groups.

The list is available at preference.the-dma.org/cgi/ddnc.php.

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