Debt Consolidator Drops Pre-emption Request

A Florida debt consolidation firm withdrew a petition asking the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt Florida's no-call law, according to an FCC document released yesterday.

Express Consolidation Inc., Delray Beach, FL, settled a no-call complaint filed against it by the state, making the petition unnecessary, the FCC said. Had the petition proceeded, the case would have been a test of the FCC's position that state laws regarding interstate telemarketing calls “almost certainly” are pre-empted if they differ with federal law.

Though Florida's no-call law does not exempt nonprofit organizations, federal law does.

In its July petition to the FCC, Express Consolidation argued that because its telemarketing agency operated out of California, its telemarketing activities involved interstate calling and were governed by federal rules.

Though the FCC has not yet enforced its pre-emption policy, it is being tested in other cases. The American Teleservices Association has asked the FCC to pre-empt a New Jersey no-call law on the grounds that its definition of existing business relationships is narrower than the federal definition. Also, an automated message service provider has asked the FCC to overturn North Dakota's blanket ban on unsolicited prerecorded messages.

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