Mixed Regulatory Decisions For Life Agents On Telemarketing
The Federal Communications Commission has decided to delay implementation of its do-not-fax rule until July 1, 2005 to give time for Congress to reverse the regulation through legislation next year.
The agency decision was part of a mixed bag of federal decisions for life insurance agents in the last week or so. In a ruling the industry opposed, the Supreme Court last week decided not to review the constitutionality of Congress decision to ban telemarketing. Before the court was a decision whether to review a lower court ruling that said banning of telemarketing calls without prior permission did not violate telemarketers free speech rights.
The high court was asked to review the case by the American Teleservices Association, which said it represented about 650 call centers that make sales calls, usually on behalf of other businesses.
The decision the Supreme Court was asked to review was handed down in February by a three- judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver. The panel ruled that the do-not-call list was a valid restraint of commercial speech because it “targets speech that invades the privacy of the home, a personal sanctuary that enjoys a unique status in our constitutional jurisprudence.”
The decision reversed an earlier ruling by a federal judge who found the list unconstitutional because it barred commercial solicitations while allowing calls from politicians and charities. The appeals court said such a distinction was merited because the government had found that commercial callers are more likely to engage in prospective and abusive practices.