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Court reinstates national do-not-call list

November 23, 2010
Telemarketers may not dial the 51 million phone numbers on the national donot-

call registry while a U.S. appeals court decides whether their free speech rights are being violated, a federal court ruled Oct. 7. The do-not-call list was to have taken effect Oct. 1, with telemarketers subject to penalties of $11,000 per call to any numbers on the list. But it became an on-and-off again effort beginning Sept. 23, when federal judges blocked the list's implementation. Lawsuits, regulatory authority, free speech restrictions, and several court rulings all contributed to a confusion of whether telemarketing was permitted. Some said it was, others said it wasn't, and a definitive answer was hard to find. Following the court action last week, the telemarketing restrictions as they were first proposed are in effect. Businesses that intend to conduct telemarketing are required to take several steps, the first of which is to download the national registry, posted on the Federal Trade Commission's Web site, After the first judge's ruling, on Sept. 23, the FTC removed the list from its site. Following the Oct. 7 action, the list reappeared on the Web site on Oct. 10. Dealers must determine the area codes to which they place telephone solicitations. Second, they must register as a telemarketer with the National Do-Not-Call Registry. That is accomplished online at https:// Within the area codes intended for targeting, download/access the telephone numbers of consumers who have registered on the National Registry. Then train anyone who makes telephone solicitations on behalf of the business not to call any telephone number that appears on the National Registry- unless an exemption applies. Exemptions: A telephone number that appears on the registry still may be called if a) the consumer has made a purchase from the dealership in the past 18 months, b) the consumer has contacted the dealership with an inquiry in the past 90 days, or c) the consumer has provided written consent-in advance of any call-to permit such calling. The consent form, according to the FTC, must be clear and conspicuous as to its intent. Under Illinois law, telemarketers are permitted for just 30 days to call a consumer after that consumer contacts a business with an inquiry. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the state law would take effect simultaneously with the national law, so the Illinois guidelines apparently are effective. Dealers can monitor the ever-changing situation at