Judge blocks do-not-call list

From wire reports
The Olympian

9/24/03

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 year.


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 jobs.


"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

 

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