Washington, Oct. 1 (Reuters): The government’s popular “do-not-call” plan dangled in legal limbo yesterday after a US appeals court left undecided whether to let the registry take effect while it weighs a challenge from telemarketers who say its rules violate their free-speech rights.
Some 51 million Americans have signed up for the no-call list, which was due to take effect yesterday. But the status of the programme has been up in the air for the past week after a federal judge in Denver said it violated free-speech rights enshrined in the Constitution.
US officials had expected the Denver appeals court to decide whether to allow the programme to go forward while it hears the case, but the court had released no decision by the close of business yesterday.
Nevertheless, consumers who signed up for the list should expect to get fewer calls because most telemarketers will voluntarily avoid calling those who do not want to hear from them, according to the Direct Marketing Association. The Federal Communications Commission asked the trade group for a copy of the list so it could handle enforcement without the Federal Trade Commission, which was prevented last week from implementing it.