MCI, VeriSign Provide Do-Not-Call Service

  |  October 29, 2003   |  Comments

Despite legal challenges to such registries, the companies see demand to help telemarketers block calls to restricted numbers.

Despite legal challenges to do-not-call registries, MCI is teaming with Call Compliance and VeriSign to help its telemarketing customers abide by state and federal regulations.

"We're connecting back to VeriSign's databases using Call Compliance software," MCI spokeswoman Natasha Haubold told internetnews.com.

When tied together, the system automatically blocks calls to restricted telephone numbers.

The deal is non-exclusive. In fact, Ashburn, Va.-based MCI, which does telemarketing of its own to land new customers and upgrade existing ones, is working with a number of different providers in the nascent space. VeriSign and Call Compliance among them.

The revenues from the service will be divided on a per-user basis.

Consumers have registered more than 50 million phone numbers with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prevent unwanted phone calls from telemarketers.

The agency contends that consumers have a "right to be left alone" and was poised to impose an $11,000 fine for each violation beginning Oct. 1.

But telemarketers challenged the measure, saying it's an unconstitutional restriction of freedom of speech and the fines are on hold while the case works its way through the courts.

But vendors say there's been no drop in interest by large companies in do-not-call compliance offerings. Haubold noted that many states have their own do-not-call registries that are not impacted, at least for now, by the dispute over the federal list.

Penny Thomas, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign agreed.

"I think the assumption is that it's something that consumers want and it's going to be in place," Thomas said.

VeriSign said its do-not-call product has been selling briskly since being introduced early last year. XO Communications is among several large customers.

In other news from the sector, Sprint and its do-not-call partner, Gryphon Networks, implemented its system for Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp.

The system will be in place in the Allied's 700 of its branch locations fully comply with federal and state DNC laws. In the first five days, Sprint and Gryphon eliminated potentially millions of dollars in liability exposure, the companies said.

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