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Federal Challenges Could Gut State "Do Not Call" Law

Last updated on Wednesday, January 7, 2009

(UNDATED) - Seven years after Indiana’s “do not call list” for telemarketers took effect, a pair of federal challenges to the ban are still pending.

The FCC has been sitting on two challenges for more than four years, both claiming that the weaker federal do-not-call law should apply to calls placed from out of state.

Attorney General Steve Carter says no action is expected any time soon. Carter warns a ruling in the telemarketers' favor would gut the law. "The federal law has a preexisting business exemption," Carter explains. "When you get your bank statement or your credit-card statement, every merchant that you do business with would have the right to contact you for the next 18 months."

The federal law also exempts charities. The Indiana law does too, but only if volunteers or employees of the charity itself makes the call. Professional telemarketers are banned.

Carter calculates the law has cut telemarketing calls to households on the no-call list by nearly two-thirds, and stopped 4.3-billion calls. That's 118 calls every minute.

Carter's office spent $19,000 dollars to commission a survey on the law's effectiveness. The money came from fines and fees collected from violators and firms which pay to get the list of who they can't call.

The mail survey reported 94-percent of those on the list have noticed a decrease in the number of calls they receive.

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