Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Revolt Against Telemarketers!

I have received, for the hundredth straight night, a telemarketing call for student loan consolidation. I have been on the Missouri No-Call List for about four months. Once I signed up and received verification from Jay Nixon (MO Attorney General) that I was on the list, the telemarketing calls ceased entirely, with the exception of the loan consolidation calls. For the past four months I have simply been hanging up when they identify themselves, but for the past two weeks I have been asking them the name and location of their company. Unfortunately I have not written any of this information down when I heard it, and thus I promptly forgot. What I do remember is that the company(ies) are incorporated in Delaware (suprise) and that they are (allegedly) nonprofit organizations (under IRC 501(c)(3)). So here is where it gets interesting:

The MO No-Call Statute (Mo. Stat. 407.1098, 407.1095 for definitions) does not apply to communications:
"By or on behalf of an entity organized pursuant to Chapter 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, while such entity is engaged in fund-raising to support the charitable purpose for which the entity was established provided that a bona fide member of such exempt organization makes the voice communication"

So the issue is: Are these phone calls from nonprofits (assuming these companies are, in fact incorpated under IRC 501(c)(3)) conducted while the company "is engaged in fund raising?" Stated another way, Is attempting to get me to consolidate my student loans with their company a fund-raising activity? Obviously if I consolidate with them, their finds will increase, but isn't "fund-raising" a term of art when it comes to nonprofits?

There is no statutory definition of "fund-raising" within the No-Call statutes, and I am skeptical that one exists in the Missouri Code (though I will check the statutes tomorrow).

So what does everyone think? Does the everyday use of the term "fund-raising" include solicitations to engage in a nonprofit's services?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Leo said...

Sounds like an issue that will only be resolved through a long and costly process of litigation.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Lucky for me, my legal representation is only as costly as my own time, currently valued at $1.24 an hour.

9:56 AM  

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