Indiana AG Tries to Rally No-Call Registrants

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The Indiana Attorney General's Office sent an e-mail this week to about 148,000 consumers registered with the state no-call registry, warning them that the federal government may try to pre-empt the state's do-not-call list.

In the e-mail, attorney general Steve Carter noted that the Federal Communications Commission "is considering a proposal that could diminish the protections you receive from Indiana's Telephone Privacy law" by pre-empting the state list in favor of a national no-call registry. While telemarketers prefer a national list over a multitude of state lists, state attorneys general have opposed efforts to establish a national standard.

"While the legal arguments about pre-emption are complicated, the practical result could mean that you will receive more unwanted telemarketing calls," the e-mail stated. "Should the FCC try to pre-empt state law, you could receive unwanted calls from some companies that you have previously done business with ... credit card companies, phone companies, and anybody else that considers you an 'existing customer.'"

The FCC has said that it is considering whether the national DNC list should pre-empt existing state lists. However, some telemarketing industry experts have noted that in passing the 1991 federal law that empowered the FCC to create a national DNC list, Congress stated that the FCC list would "pre-empt the states from adopting a database approach."

The attorney general's e-mail included a link to the Web page on where comments can be submitted electronically until Nov. 22. The e-mail suggested that consumers urge the FCC not to implement any plan that would weaken Indiana's no-call protections and tell the agency about the privacy benefits they have enjoyed under the state's DNC list.

"It's important for people to realize that they have an opportunity to comment," said Staci Schneider, spokeswoman with the Indiana Attorney General's Office.

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