Fed Court Rules Against FTC Do-Not-Call List

(Direct Newsline) Industry reaction was mixed as it tried to understand the federal court ruling that effectively threw out the Federal Trade Commission’s national do-not-call list.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the Direct Marketing Association, InfoCision Systems, and other telemarketers who challenged the list, which consists of the names and phone numbers of more than 50 million people who do not want to receive business solicitation calls. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma decided that the FTC had exceeded its authority in creating the list.

The immediate effect of the ruling is not yet clear.

“The DMA and its fellow plaintiffs are grateful that the Federal District Court in Oklahoma City understood and upheld industry’s belief that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not have authority to implement and enforce a national do-not-call list,” DMA president H. Robert Wientzen said in a statement. “The DMA, however, acknowledges the wishes of millions of U.S. consumers who have expressed their preferences not to receive telephone-marketing solicitations – as evidenced by the millions of phone numbers registered on the FTC list.”

The DMA said it will work with its attorneys, the FTC, and the Federal Communications Commission over the coming days to evaluate the practical implications of the decision and its effects on marketers and consumers.

“Not everybody in the industry is going to agree with me, but I think this decision is going to exacerbate the situation,” says Marty Abrams, executive director of the Center for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams. “The do-not-call lists were what the public wanted.” He warns that legislation further restricting the use of personal data for marketing purposes is likely if the industry does not pay attention to the wishes of consumers.

In his statement, FTC chairman Timothy J. Muris declared that the court’s ruling “is clearly incorrect. We will seek every recourse to give American consumers a choice to stop unwanted telemarketing calls.”

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