FTC Moves Up No-Call Registration Dates

The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday that it would open registration to the national no-call list to consumers nationwide earlier than it had originally announced.

Online registration for the nation will begin July 1, and telephone registration for states west of the Mississippi River, including Minnesota and Louisiana, will begin on the same day, the FTC said. Telephone registration will be open to the entire nation one week later, the FTC said.

In March, the FTC had announced a schedule calling for an eight-week, region-by-region “rolling” telephone registration to begin in July. The rolling schedule sought to prevent an overload of inbound telephone registration lines such as those experienced in some states that already have no-call lists, the FTC said.

The FTC did not state a reason for the accelerated schedule. An FTC spokeswoman did not immediately return calls late yesterday.

Tim Searcy, executive director of the American Teleservices Association, said that despite the hastened schedule for consumer registration to the list, the fact that the FTC isn't opening registration to the entire nation at once may indicate the agency is experiencing difficulty with implementation of the plan.

He expressed confidence the ATA's lawsuit would succeed in preventing full implementation of the no-call registry prior to the start of FTC enforcement in October.

“We believe that in the end the court is going to handle this for us,” Searcy said. “The real issue is that it won't be implemented because the court is going to rule in our favor.”

The ATA seeks a summary judgment in U.S. District Court in Denver for its lawsuit. On June 2, the FTC filed papers opposing the ATA's request, Searcy said.

He declined to speculate whether the ATA's aim of obtaining a quick decision in the lawsuit had anything to do with the FTC's decision to accelerate implementation of the list.

The Direct Marketing Association, which is also suing to block the FTC from enforcing the no-call registry, said it was disappointed in the FTC's decision to speed up implementation of the registry. The FTC has not educated the public fully about potential problems, such as the industries outside the agency's jurisdiction that the list will not cover, the association said.

“By accelerating the do-not-call list rollout, the FTC today jumped the gun and opened the door to potential federal bureaucratic duplication that could lead to marketer and consumer confusion,” the DMA said in the statement.

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