Robo calls; while often annoying, they can be useful.
Wisconsin's No Call List has an exemption for nonprofits and political groups, but new legislation from Appleton Republican Roger Roth would allow state residents to opt out of those automated political calls. The Wisconsin Realtors Association opposes the measure, saying it restricts communication with the public.
"It's one more way of the government telling us how we can or can't communicate with people."
Joe Murray is Director of Governmental and Political Affairs with the group, which sometimes has important information to pass along to homeowners, and he says those so-called robo calls are the best way to get the word out.
"Junk mail costs a small fortune; robo-calls are a great deal cheaper, and I don't think that you can realistically compare the pricing of the two because they're not very similar at all."
To avoid freedom of speech issues, the bill would not ban such automated calls, but instead offer the option to opt out. Murray argues that folks are too busy to pay attention to certain issues of significance to their lives. That's where automated messages are useful.
"Unless somebody — like the Wisconsin Homeowners Alliance — is going to tell homeowners about a particular proposal that will affect them, they may not know anything about it and this is a quick, cheap, fast way to get a message to people and make point without spending a ton of money."
Murray says the Realtors Association does not abuse this privilege, and many homeowners thank the group for notifying them of significant information.
NOTE: An Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection at the capitol took up the issue of robo calls on Wednesday. Lawmakers are working with the state's Consumer Protection office and others to fine-tune the proposal.