FCC Renews Comment Period On Telemarketing Rules

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The Federal Communications Commission has said it intends to begin another 30-day public comment period on its proposed changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

According to a statement issued this week by the FCC, the passage of the Do-Not-Call Act, which requires the FCC to make its telemarketing rules consistent with the Federal Trade Commission's revised Telemarketing Sales Rule, prompted the renewed comment period. Among the changes to the TCPA being contemplated by the FCC is the creation of a DNC list in synch with the registry being implemented by the FTC.

The new comment period will coincide with the announcement's publication in the Federal Register, which had not occurred as of yesterday. The agency is seeking comment specific to the DNC Act's affect on its rulemaking proceedings and has advised the public not to repeat statements made during the initial public comment period last year.

The American Teleservices Association alerted members to the renewed comment period at its legislative conference in Washington. ATA officials, who said that the renewed period would likely extend through early May, urged members to use the opportunity to make their case.

Consumer registration for the national no-call registry will begin in July, the FTC said. Phone registration will be conducted region-by-region across the United States over an eight-week period to avoid an overload of registration call-in lines. Online registration will be available immediately throughout the nation, the agency said.

The FTC expects that copies of the registry will be available to telemarketers in September with enforcement beginning in October.

The ATA, along with the Direct Marketing Association, has challenged the legality of the no-call registry and is asking a federal judge to delay implementation of the registry until the constitutional issues are settled. A hearing on the request is expected next week.

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