Judge blocks do-not-call list
WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Oklahoma has ruled that the Federal
Trade Commission overstepped its authority in creating a national
do-not-call list against telemarketers.
The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by telemarketers who challenged
the list, comprised of names of people who do not want to receive
business solicitation calls. The immediate impact of Tuesday's ruling
was not clear.
U.S. District Judge Lee West sided in favor of the plaintiffs, U.S.
Security, Chartered Benefit Services, Global Contact Services, InfoCision
Management and Direct Marketing Association. (Related: Read the decision).
The telemarketing industry estimates that the do-not-call list could
cut its business in half, costing it up to $50 billion in sales each
The FTC had signed up about 50 million phone numbers for the list,
which was due to take effect on Oct. 1.
The Direct Marketing Association sued to block the list shortly after
Congress approved it in January, saying it would violate free-speech
laws and discriminate against an industry that provides millions of
"The Direct Marketing Association and its fellow plaintiffs are
grateful that the federal District Court in Oklahoma City understood
and upheld the industry's belief that the Federal Trade Commission
does not have authority to implement and enforce a national do-not-call
list," the trade group said in a press release.
An FTC official declined to comment until the agency had a chance
to examine the ruling.
"We're received it, and we're reviewing it," FTC spokeswoman
Cathy MacFarlane said.
Lawmakers were quick to criticize the court's decision, arguing that
they had given the FTC the authority to implement the list.
"We are confident this ruling will be overturned and the nearly
50 million Americans who have signed up for the do-not-call list will
remain free from unwanted telemarketing calls in the privacy of their
own homes," Reps. Billy Tauzin and John Dingell said in a statement