FTC MULLS MOVING UP DO-NOT-CALL TIMETABLE

Could Begin Registration for List a Week Earlier Than Planned

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- Just a week after the Federal Trade Commission said it would move up the timetable to implement its national marketing "do not call" list, the FTC chairman said today the date is likely to be moved up yet again.

Web registration
Testifying before a panel of the

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House Energy and Commerce Committee, the FTC's chairman, Timothy Muris, indicated the Web registration for the list could begin as much as a week earlier than the July 1 target announced last week. The FTC also had announced that phone registration in the West would begin July 1 and phone registration in the East a week later.

The list program is designed to enable consumers to block telemarketers from making calls to their home phone numbers. Marketers covered by the FTC rules are required to remove registered consumers from their telephone sales lists.

Larger list?
The changes are likely to mean the list will be larger when marketers have to start using it to eliminate names in October. The Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association have filed separate lawsuits challenging the FTC's list and court decisions are expected before the lists would go into effect, but well after the start of registration.

Neither group had immediate comment today, though the DMA on June 3 said the FTC had acted "prematurely" and "jumped the gun" on the original move up. It said because the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees some industries the FTC doesn't, has yet to act to create its own list, the FTC's action would create consumer confusion.

Seeks more authority
While speaking before the House panel, Mr. Muris also asked that the FTC be given new authority in three areas: to look at phone and cable company ads; to more easily fight spam; and to have some of the same ability to share information that other federal law enforcement agencies have.

Asked by a congressman whether banks, airlines and phone companies, which are exempt from FTC oversight, should also be subject to the FTC, Mr. Muris said the FTC is the government's expert in evaluating advertising and that its authority to look at deceptive ads should be "as broad as possible."

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