• FCC Names Its First Violator Of Federal "Do Not Call" Rules
  • December 31, 2003
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • A California mortgage company was the target of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) first enforcement action under the FCC's rules governing telephone solicitations and unsolicited advertisements. On December 18, 2003, the FCC issued a citation to CPM Funding Inc. (CPM), warning that it would be subject to fines of up to $11,000 per violation if it continued to call telephone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. The company did not dispute the FCC allegations that it called at least eight numbers on the list.

    David Solomon, head of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, said that this action "demonstrates our resolve to ensure that consumers are not bothered by unwanted, intrusive calls to their homes."

    Under the FCC rules, it is unlawful to deliver a telephone solicitation to a residential telephone line listed on the National Do Not Call Registry unless (1) the call is made by or on behalf of a tax exempt nonprofit group; (2) the call is made by a person who has a relationship with the called party; (3) the called party has provided signed, written consent for the call to be made; or (4) the called party has made a purchase from or had a transaction with the caller within the preceding 18 months or has made an inquiry regarding the caller's products or services within the preceding three months; and (5) the called party has not specifically asked the caller to stop all telemarketing calls. Telemarketers must honor do not call registrations not later than three months after a number has been placed on the registry and for a period of not less than five years.

    Significance: In the press release announcing its first action under the Do Not Call rules, the FCC emphasized that enforcing the Do Not Call list is its top "consumer protection priority." Thus, those engaged in telemarketing products or services should make certain that they and any telemarketing subcontractors are acting in compliance with federal law.