Former longtime North Idaho state Rep. Jim Clark is back before a legislative committee this morning, this time as a lobbyist for Frontier Communications, which, along with Century Link, is proposing HB 55 to drop a restriction from Idaho’s do-not-call law that now prevents phone, cable and cellular companies from cold-calling their customers to sell them new products. “The company that I represent in northern Idaho, Frontier Communications, is spending an awful lot of money doing high-speed Internet, and they cannot tell their Idaho customers on the phone that they’re actually doing that,” Clark told the House State Affairs Committee.
Among those opposing the bill is the Idaho Attorney General’s office, which operates the do-not-call list. Brett DeLange, head of the office’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said the list is based on “what is commonly called the right to be left alone.” More than a million phone numbers are on the list now, he said, indicating “the overwhelming desire of Idaho citizens to be left alone while they’re trying to eat dinner, while they’re trying to do their homework, they’re trying to have family time.”
While other businesses with existing relationships can call their customers even if they’re on the do-not-call list, DeLange said, Idaho’s 2000 law excluded phone and other telecom companies because “we’re all their customers.”
He said no one on the do-not-call list has ever called the Attorney General’s office to complain that “they’re not receiving calls from solicitors, or that they’re missing calls that they want to receive.”
Bill Roden, lobbyist for Century Link, which is co-sponsoring the bill with Frontier, said the bill would treat all businesses equally.