All Commercial Marketers to Now Use Telemarketing-Blocking List

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Communications Commission today voted to extend the Federal Trade Commission's "do not call" list to cover all commercial marketers and said it will use the same Oct. 1 start date as the FTC.

The FCC said it would make its list applicable to in-state telemarketing calls as well as those made from out of state. The move came as a surprise, because the FCC had not indicated it would seek to cover in-state calls. The FTC has no authority over in-state marketing.

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the change is Newspaper Association of America, which hadn't expected it members would be covered. Some states that already have their own do-not-call lists had exempted newspapers.

The do-not-call 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.

The original FTC list, due to take effect in October, only covered companies whose marketing is overseen by the FTC. While its oversight is substantial, the FTC does not cover banks, airlines and phone companies. The FCC's decision now greatly expands coverage and closes what had been a loophole of sorts under the FTC plan. Phone companies making their own sales calls would not have been covered by FTC rules, but phone companies using telemarketers to make calls are bound by the do-not-call list requirements.

Fees and fines
The FCC said it will release a detailed plan in several weeks that will generally mirror the FTC plan and require marketers it covers to buy the FTC list -- $7,250 for a national list, with separate payments due from each separate corporate division, subsidiary or affiliate. Telemarketers will use marketers' licenses to access the list. Companies will be hit with an $11,000 fine for each call that violates the FTC's provisions.

Consumers will be able to start registering soon for the do-not-call list, and marketers covered by the FTC will have to use the list starting Oct. 1.

The Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association are suing the FTC to overturn the list.

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