WASHINGTON (Talon News) — The telemarketing industry is suing the Federal Communications Commission because of the alleged damages it will suffer as a result of the recently enacted national do-not-call list.

Telemarketers claim that the do-not-call list will hurt their business and will force 2 million people to become unemployed. Since the national do-not-call list began collecting telephone numbers on June 27 of consumers who do not want to receive telemarketing calls, more than 28 million people have signed up for the service, according to the FCC. The number is expected to reach 60 million by next summer.

The American Teleservices Association, which has been fighting against the national do-not-call list since January, filed a lawsuit in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado on Friday.

“This truly is a case of regulatory overkill,” remarked ATA Executive Director Tim Searcy. “The FCC ignored its obligations under the federal law and the Constitution to carefully balance the privacy interests of consumers with the First Amendment rights of legitimate telemarketers.”

Those who have signed up to be on the national do-not-call registry should see a marked decrease in the number of telemarketing calls beginning on Oct. 1. That is when the Federal Trade Commission will begin enforcing the ban. The FTC says that it will block approximately 80 percent of calls.

Telemarketers say the national do-not-call list will probably cut their business in half, costing them $50 billion in sales annually. This will force telemarketing companies to lay off nearly two million workers, according to FTA estimates.

A court date has not yet been set. There are other similar lawsuits against the national do-not-call lists by other telemarketers awaiting a court date as well.

Currently, there are 166 million residential telephone numbers and more than 147 million cellular telephone numbers in use in the United States.

In states where there are do-not-call lists in place, consumers will not need to register with the national do-not-call registry. Those states will forward their lists to the national registry by the end of this summer.

By September, telemarketing companies will be required to check the national do-not-call registry quarterly to find out which numbers should not be called. As reported by Talon News in June, any telemarketer who calls someone who has placed their number on the do-not-call list can be fined up to $11,000 for each call made. Consumers can report any company that violates the do-not-call registry by using an automated telephone or online system.

Exceptions to the national do-not-call registry are calls from non-profit charity organizations and political candidate-related calls, including polls. Another exception includes any company that a consumer has purchased, leased, or rented from in the past 18 months or has requested more information from in the past three months.

Consumers may place their name on the national do-not-call registry by calling toll-free at 1-888-382-1222 or on the Internet at http://www.donotcall.gov

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