FCC WEIGHS FINE AGAINST AT&T OVER SALES CALLS

Action Is not Related to New Do-Not-Call List

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to fine AT&T Corp. $780,000 for violating an old "do not call" list for making telemarketing calls to consumers who were supposed to be on AT&T's own company-specific list.

The FCC said most of the calls were done

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before the new national Do Not Call Registry, which blocks most telemarketing solicitation, was created by the Federal Trade Commission. The FCC enforces that list against phone companies. The previous law required companies to create their own lists of consumers who specifically asked not to be called.

Not related to new law
"The action is not directly related to the new list," said Suzanne Tetreault, chief of the FCC's enforcement division. "We got the complaints and are taking do-not-call enforcement very seriously."

The FCC said AT&T called 29 consumers on 78 separate occasions in the past year, mostly about long-distance service though in one case about long-distance and local service. The FCC is proposing a $10,000 per call fine.

The new law, which has a wider application, carries fines of $11,000 against telemarketing companies for each call that violates the FTC's do-not-call provisions

FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell said the enforcement action "demonstrates our resolve in the fight to protect consumers from unwanted and intrusive telephone calls. This puts telemarketers on notice that we will take all measures necessary to protect consumers who chose to be left alone in their homes."

AT&T in a statement said it had not yet seen the FCC's "notice of apparent liability."

"We are confident we can persuade the FCC in its fact-finding proceeding that there were not 78 do-not-call violations," the company said. "We set a very high priority on respecting do-not-call requests and have even urged our customers to sign up for the FTC do-not-call list."

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