AT&T Where Not Answering Means “Yes”

This is a negative option. It makes saying nothing the equivalent of saying yes!

(Note: I incorrectly assumed the CPNI mentioned in this post includes name, address and phone number. It does not. However, this is still about marketing permission being granted to AT&T simply by my doing nothing. I apologize for any confusion caused by my error.)

I got a postcard from AT&T today. It’s at the bottom of this entry. They don’t want me to read it. Do I know that for sure? No, but I’m reasonably certain.

Have you seen AT&T advertisements? They’re beautiful and eye catching. They are compelling. They are designed to get a point across.

This postcard is designed to do the opposite! Look at it. Judge for yourself.

It is densely packed and uses a very narrow, very thin font. It’s tough to read. It is written in a cumbersome manner with large unfamiliar words sprinkled throughout.

The postcard is asking permission that most people wouldn’t freely give.

AT&T wants to sell you stuff. In that pursuit they want to pass around your “Customer Proprietary Network Information.” That’s your name, phone number and address, right? When you don’t respond (most of you won’t) AT&T will be allowed to “share customer proprietary network information within the AT&T family of companies for our own marketing purposes.”

This is a negative option. It makes saying nothing the equivalent of saying yes!

Even if you want to say “no” there are roadblocks. I found that out firsthand.

The card gives a phone number to call and opt out. After dialing I was presented with an unforeseen hurdle. They wanted a three digit number that appears on my phone bill. Nowhere on the card did it say I’d need this. I didn’t have it at hand. The call was for naught!

Opting in is easy. Opting out is difficult.

All of this is surely legal. AT&T is loaded with attorneys. The real question is: is this right?

If AT&T wanted to do right by me they’d err on the side I’d most certainly choose. To me it seems they’re doing the exact opposite.