DO-NOT-CALL LAW GETS ITS TEETH BACK

FTC Warns Telemarketers They Must Comply Immediately

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Trade Commission today reacted quickly to last night's appellate court decision reinstating its "do not call" list,
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announcing it will resume taking registrations tomorrow and it expects businesses to quickly begin complying with the list.

FTC Chairman Timothy Muris, who was joined by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell at a press conference today, said businesses that have already accessed the list should begin using it immediately and those that hadn't will have one week to access and implement it, as required, by Oct. 17.

5,645 companies access list
Mr. Muris said 5,645 companies had accessed the list before two court decisions stopped the FTC from providing the list. That left as many as 7,000 that hadn't downloaded the list, but Mr. Muris said the FTC believed most major telemarketers were among those with the list, which now includes more than 52 million phone numbers.

He said consumers have already begun to see fewer sales calls to their homes. The chairmen said their agencies believe about a third of consumer phone numbers are on the list.

Both the FCC and FTC implemented do-not-call rules requiring businesses to use the FTC's list. While the FCC has gone ahead and required companies it regulates to use the list and had begun to investigate 2,000 consumer complaints, the Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association won two court decisions blocking the FTC from implementing its version and forcing the FTC to halt registration and businesses access to the list.

Appeals court decision
A court ruling finding the call-blocking list unconstitutional was stayed yesterday by a three-judge panel the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. The court said that while the list would hurt marketers, the FTC had demonstrated a "substantial likelihood" that its regulatory plan would be found constitutional.

The appeals court also consolidated three cases filed against the FCC and FTC and announced plans for a speedy consideration of fuller issues in the case, with oral arguments set for Nov. 10.

The ATA said today that it wouldn't appeal the latest court decision, and will instead wait to see the results of the Nov. 10 court hearing.

Reviewing the ruling
The DMA said it is reviewing the ruling, but has made no decision yet whether it will appeal it. A spokesman said that while the group questions the need for the list, marketers have been planning to implement procedures for some time.

"The reality is that since Sept. 1, more than 50% of the marketers have downloaded the list and implemented it and the other folks have been going nuts for two weeks trying to get the list," said Louis Mastria, the DMA spokesman.

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