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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Cantwell and Colleagues Bring ‘Do Not Call’ List Back to Life

Cantwell introduced bipartisan bill that protects consumers from harassing telemarketers

Thursday, September 25,2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congress staved off telemarketers by clarifying that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the authority to implement its national "Do Not Call" list. Senator Maria Cantwell co-sponsored the legislation that made it happen.

"The 'Do Not Call' list is a critical first step in restoring consumers' control over their telephones and their dinner hours," Cantwell stated. "Consumers deserve protection from unending telemarketing calls."

Telemarketers were nearly successful in killing the FTC's "Do Not Call" list after a district court in the Western District of Oklahoma ruled the "Do Not Call" registry is invalid after concluding that the commission lacked the statutory authority to implement the rule. The ruling came a week before the "Do Not Call" list was to be implemented.

Cantwell co-sponsored S. 1652 to reverse the court's decision, clarifying that the FTC does have the authority to protect consumers by implementing the "Do Not Call" registry list.

Telemarketers are required to search the registry every three months and synchronize their call lists, eliminating phone numbers on the registry. A telemarketer who disregards the national "Do Not Call" registry could be fined up to $11,000 for each call.

Americans have already filed over 50 million numbers with the registry. The FTC expects that 60 percent of the nation's households will eventually sign onto the registry.