Regulators Seek DMA's Help for No-Call Enforcement

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The Federal Communications Commission has asked the Direct Marketing Association for a copy of the no-call list to aid in its enforcement efforts, according to a letter released yesterday by the FCC.


Earlier this week, Judge Edward W. Nottingham of U.S. District Court in Denver warned the Federal Trade Commission, which maintains the no-call list, that it could not help the FCC to implement the list, which he had declared unconstitutional. The FCC has stated that Nottingham's ruling would cause it to have a harder time enforcing the list, which was scheduled to go into effect yesterday.


Also due to the ruling, the FTC shut down the Web site that telemarketers used to download the list, potentially stranding those who had yet to obtain it. In his letter to the DMA, FCC chairman Michael Powell applauded the association for committing to work with regulators and said Nottingham's ruling also prohibited the FCC from getting the list from the FTC.


To help ensure that telemarketers comply with consumer wishes, the DMA should provide a copy of the no-call list to the FCC, a transfer that would be allowed under both the FCC and FTC rules, Powell wrote. He also requested a list of each DMA member that the association believed had already obtained a copy of the list.


"This information will promote the FCC's ability to protect residential telephone subscribers throughout the United States from unwanted telemarketing initiated by all entities that have already downloaded the list, which I believe is our common goal," Powell stated.


In a statement, the DMA acknowledged its receipt of Powell's request but did not say whether it would share the list. The DMA has asked its members to let it know who has acquired the list, the association said.


"The DMA is attempting to comply to the fullest extent possible with today's FCC request," DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen said in the statement. "The actions we have already taken to comply simply furthers our goal to respect the choices of consumers."


Both the DMA and FCC set up toll-free telephone numbers and e-mail addresses consumers can use to file no-call violation complaints. In addition, the DMA has called for telemarketers to abide by the no-call list regardless of the outcome of court battles over the list.


Yesterday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals considered the FTC's request to suspend Nottingham's ruling and allow the no-call list to go into effect while it reviewed the constitutionality issue. Previously, the appeals court rejected the American Teleservices Association's request to delay implementation of the list while court issues were resolved.


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