Meet Bluegreen, a Florida time-share company that regularly skirts the Do-Not-Call Lista by offering a $50,000 raffle. By entering the raffle, unsuspecting consumers give Bluegreen – and over a dozen of their affiliates – permission to contact them, even if they subscribe to the Do-Not-Call List. We explain how this is technically legal, after the jump.
Bluegreen says it has set up hundreds of similar kiosks in malls and other public venues across the country. Between the kiosks and its Internet marketing efforts, the Boca Raton (Fla.) company estimates it rakes in as many as 4.5 million “leads” each year, which it and more than a dozen of its affiliates use for telemarketing. David Bidgood, Bluegreen’s senior vice-president of national sales and marketing, takes umbrage at any suggestion that his company is deceiving consumers with the sweepstakes. “We’re doing [the sweepstakes] to try and make phone calls,” he says. “[The fine print] is there. They should read it, but most people don’t.”
Bluegreen, like many unscrupulous telemarketers, takes advantage of a provision of the Do-Not-Call List that allows businesses to contact people with whom they have an “established business relationship.” Merely signing up for the raffle establishes a business relationship, meaning that Bluegreen and their affiliates get to interrupt your dinner for the next 18 months.
Congress is preparing to reauthorize the Do-Not-Call List, presenting the perfect opportunity to close the loophole with an easy and reasonable fix. As suggested by the AARP, the standard of “established business relationship,”should be changed to “ongoing business relationship.” Problem solved.
Skirting the Do Not Call Registry [BusinessWeek]
(Photo: Getty Images)