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Do Not Call Saga Continues

OCTOBER 10, 2003


Do Not Call Saga Continues

In the latest turn of events, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit will allow the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the national do-not-call registry. The agency is again accepting additions to the registry and will begin accepting consumer complaints at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11.

A federal district court had ruled the FTC rule unconstitutional because it banned commercial calls but not those from charities, and ordered the FTC not to proceed with the registry or enforcement. Although the appeals court has not yet ruled on the merits of the case, it removed the injunction against the FTC, suggesting that the rule would be found constitutional in the end. The appeals court will hold an expedited hearing on the case.

A separate Federal Communications Commission rule that closely parallels the FTC rule has not been affected. However, because the FCC rule relies on the FTC registry, the FCC was stymied in enforcement efforts, although it has received nearly 2,400 complaints from consumers. While provisions of the FCC rule apply to calls made to businesses, the restrictions on hours for calling and compliance with the do-not-call registry apply to calls made to "residential telephone subscribers", i.e., consumers.