Columbia House Settles No-Call Suit

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Columbia House agreed to pay $300,000 to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that it violated the national no-call list, the FTC said Friday.


According to the FTC, the violations occurred from October 2003 to March 2004, a period during which the no-call list was under dispute. Lower federal courts in Colorado and Oklahoma issued rulings against the no-call list in late September 2003, but a federal appeals court overturned those rulings in February 2004. The Supreme Court later declined to review the case.


Columbia House called "tens of thousands" of former members who were on the no-call list after the legal time limit for existing business relationships had expired, the FTC said. According to the law, telemarketers can call those on the no-call list for up to 18 months after they made a purchase or three months after they made an inquiry.


In addition, since 1995 Columbia House called numerous consumers who specifically requested that the company cease calling them, the FTC said. A compliance program put in place by Columbia House to avoid such violations proved ineffective, according to the FTC.


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