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No Worries in Indiana About Presidential Robocalls; Ban Stands

April 12, 2016
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

With an election about seven months out, it would be easy to sigh in resignation and wonder when the avalanche of calls from Do Not Call-list exempt not-for-profit companies will start, telling us all about the various wonders of our various presidential candidates. That's no great worry in Indiana, however, as a new report from ABC 21Alive detailed a recent ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

With the new ruling, a previous ban on presidential campaigns -- forbidden to use automated robocalls without the person being called giving consent -- remains in place. Indiana's Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, noted that Indiana's “strict telephone privacy laws” would remain operational, and that there were a variety of “legitimate, lawful ways to contact people and disseminate political information.” Zoeller also had issues with robocalls in general, calling them “...the tools of scam artists.”

That doesn't forbid all calls, however; campaigns and similar groups can still engage in live calls, even to Do Not Call-registered numbers under the normal exemptions afforded to non-sales calls. Those who get unwanted calls are encouraged to request removal from the lists being used. Zoeller, meanwhile, noted that the state was more than willing to go to court in force of such actions, so those targeting Indiana should take note accordingly.

That's likely going to be welcome news, and I've always been of the mind that more groups should take the Do Not Call list seriously. After all, the point of telemarketing—robocall or otherwise—is to make an attempt to convince someone to do something, whether it's buy a product, make a donation or choose a certain way on an issue. Why, therefore, launch automated calls to people who so clearly do not want calls that they're willing to sign up on the federal government's own list to prevent such calls? Does anyone think that these people are signing up and thinking “There! Now I won't get any more automated calls from businesses! I can't wait to see how many exempt not-for-profits call me; I so welcome their calls!” If someone's on the Do Not Call list, it's because that person doesn't want to be called. Therefore, don't waste even a robocalling system's time making calls to where they clearly aren't welcome.

The Do Not Call list is a great compendium for determining where calls aren't welcome, so whether it's a business or a presidential campaign, call the people not on that list and see better chances of success come with it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because such calls are allowed by law, they will be welcomed by the recipient who has gone to such trouble to avoid these calls to begin with.