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People React to Court Ruling on 'Do Not Call' List

People React to Court Ruling on 'Do Not Call' List

Posted - Sep. 24, 2003 at 3:47 p.m.



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Keith McCord ReportingIt sounded almost too good to be true. Put your name on the national "Do Not Call" list and those annoying calls by telemarketers would stop! Today a court in Oklahoma blocked the law, so those calls will keep coming -- for now anyway!

The law was supposed to take effect on October 1st--one week from today. The telemarketing industry, upset with the law, went to court to block it. And this morning a federal judge ruled that the Federal Trade Commission did not have the authority to implement and enforce the ‘Do Not Call’ list, even though Congress said it did.

This came as a surprise to a lot of people and it isn't over yet.

Fifty million Americans have signed up for this list. That means 50-million households not wanting to field sales pitches at dinner time. When President Bush signed legislation in February giving the Federal Trade Commission the OK to begin the registration process, consumers were elated. The sheer numbers illustrate that.

Francine Giani, Dir. Utah Div. of Consumer Protection: “Over 361,000 telephone numbers from Utah have been registered on that list as of two weeks ago. That tells me that Utahns, as well as the nation, we're starting to say something about these phone calls."

But the telemarketing industry claimed that the law would cut its business in half, reducing sales by 50-billion dollars a year. Not surprisingly, the industry sued!

The Direct Marketing Association, the plaintiff in this case, is surprised but happy with the ruling. Federal lawmakers say the judge is wrong; and consumers are mad!

“I don't like that court decision. I only use a cell phone now primarily for the purpose to not have telemarketers.”

“Hopefully it will be appealed and be overturned as a matter of public Policy.”

“I don't want to be pestered, would you?”

Francine Giani, who heads up the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, says those who are upset about the ruling should make some noise.

Francine Giani, Dir. Utah Div. of Consumer Protection: "I hope that citizens become outraged across the country as they find out this news. I hope they speak to their legislators and let them know what they think about it."

As we said, it's not over yet. A similar lawsuit is pending in Denver. And because of all this legal wrangling, don't expect the "Do Not Call" law to take effect anytime soon.

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