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Court OKs FTC Enforcement of No-Call Registry

An appeals court ruled yesterday that the Federal Trade Commission can enforce the national no-call registry while the court considers whether it violates telemarketers' free-speech rights.

Enforcement of the registry, which had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, had been on hold since Judge Edward W. Nottingham of U.S. District Court in Denver ruled late last month that the registry violated First Amendment rights. He later told the FTC that it could face trouble if it tried to sidestep his decision by transferring enforcement of the list to the Federal Communications Commission.

“This is an important victory for American consumers,” said FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris. “We believe the rule fully satisfies the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, and we will now proceed to implement and enforce the do-not-call registry.”

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must now decide whether the registry discriminates against telemarketers by prohibiting commercial calls while allowing political and charitable calls.

In yesterday’s decision, the three-judge panel said there was a good chance that the FTC would win its appeal.

“We conclude there is a substantial likelihood that the FTC will be able to show … that the list directly advances the government's substantial interest and is narrowly tailored,” Reuters quoted the panel as saying.

Since Oct. 1 the FCC has been logging complaints from consumers about telemarketing violations. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 3 the agency said it received 1,315 complaints.

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