The Do Not Call List Stays Afloat

President Bush Monday signed corrective legislation to ensure that the federal Do Not Call list will take effect tomorrow, even though federal courts are still battling over the constitutionality of the list. Bush said in a press conference Monday that Americans were fed up with intrusive calls, and that they had a right to stop those calls from coming in "at all hours of the day." "The do-not-call registry is still being challenged in court," Bush added. "Yet, the conclusions of the American people, the legislative branch, and the executive branch is beyond question." More than 50 million Americans have already signed up to be part of the list. However, several federal courts blocked the enforcement of the list last week, saying the list limits telemarketers' rights to free speech. An Oklahoma court originally blocked the list based on the free speech issue. Then a judge in Denver stated that the Federal Trade Commission, which compiled the list, did not have proper jurisdiction. To get around the injunction the president ordered the Federal Commerce Commission to enforce the list. Regardless of the final outcome in the courts, some analysts say that given the overwhelming support of the list by American consumers, the face of telemarketing needs to change. "The recent U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City's delay of the antitelemarketing list resurfaced the question around a company's ability to engage in broad telemarketing activities," says Mindy Propper, a vice president with consulting firm BearingPoint. "Even though there now seem to be judicial, legal, and legislative confusion and uncertainty about the do-not-call list, one thing is clear: Companies will need to be able to define potential customers and households and to have the means to turn 'on' and 'off' access for effective marketing, and should be positioned to comply with whatever the new rules might be." In line with the specifications of the original Do Not Call registry, telemarketing firms that violate the list will receive fines of up to $11,000 per person they call whose name appears on the list. Americans can still sign up for the Do Not Call list through www.ftc.gov.
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