- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Telemarketers expanded their legal challenge to the government’s do-not-call list, suing a second federal agency over the call-blocking service for consumers that the industry says will devastate business and cost up to 2 million jobs.

The free government registry for blocking telephone sales pitches has grown to more than 28 million numbers since it was opened June 27, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which operates the service. The FTC has predicted registration to grow to 60 million numbers by next summer.

The American Teleservices Association (ATA), an industry group that sued the FTC in January to stop the list, asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday to reject new regulations set by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC added its authority to the list to close regulatory loopholes and block calls from certain industries, including airlines, banks and telephone companies.

“This truly is a case of regulatory overkill,” said Tim Searcy, ATA executive director. “The FCC ignored its obligations under the federal law and the Constitution to carefully balance the privacy interests of consumers with the First Amendment rights of legitimate telemarketers.”

People who sign up this summer should see a decrease in telemarketing calls after the FTC begins enforcing the list Oct. 1. The service will block about 80 percent of the calls, the FTC said.

The telemarketing industry estimates the do-not-call list could cut its business in half, costing it up to $50 billion in sales each year. Implementing the list could also eliminate up to 2 million jobs, the ATA said.

No court date has been set for the case against the FTC, the group said.


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