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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission overstepped its authority in creating the national "do-not-call" list against telemarketers.
The ruling Tuesday came in a lawsuit brought by telemarketers who challenged the list of 50 million people who said they do not want to receive business solicitation calls. The list was to go into effect Oct. 1.
U.S. District Judge Lee R. West said the main issue in the case was "whether the FTC had the authority to promulgate a national do-not-call registry. The court finds it did not."
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said Wednesday they were confident the ruling would be overturned and believe Congress did give the FTC the necessary authority.
"We will continue to monitor the situation and will take whatever legislative action is necessary to ensure consumers can stop intrusive calls from unwanted telemarketers," they said in a joint statement.
Calls to the FTC were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Direct Marketing Association Inc., one of the plaintiffs, said it was happy with the ruling, even though it "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 suit was filed by DMA, U.S. Security, Chartered Benefit Services Inc., Global Contact Services Inc. and InfoCision Management Corp.
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.
More than a dozen states with do-not-call lists planned to add their lists to the national registry this summer, the FTC said.
Telemarketers would have to check the list every three months to see who doesn't want to be called. Those who call listed people could be fined up to $11,000 for each violation.