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Book Club Settles ‘Do Not Call’ Charges

From Bloomberg News

Book of the Month Club’s direct marketer will pay $680,000 to settle U.S. charges that it called more than 100,000 consumers who had posted their telephone numbers on the government’s “Do Not Call” list.

The Federal Trade Commission in Washington said Thursday that it reached the settlement with Bookspan, a joint venture of Time Warner Inc.'s Book of the Month Club Holdings and Bertelsmann’s Doubleday Direct Inc.

The Do Not Call rules were adopted in 2003 to reduce unsolicited phone calls to consumers.

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The rules prohibit companies from calling any phone number on an FTC registry unless they have an “established business relationship” with the consumers, and those consumers may ask the company not to call.

The FTC said that Bookspan, based in Garden City, N.Y., called tens of thousands of consumers who had asked to be placed on the company’s own Do Not Call list as well as more than 100,000 in the FTC’s registry. The violations occurred from October 2003 to August 2004, the FTC said.

Bookspan’s lawyer, Jo Anne C. Adlerstein, said the problems were caused by computer and human errors.

“The last thing Bookspan wants is to interrupt the dinner of somebody who is not interested in their products,” she said.

More than 120 million phone numbers have been placed on the FTC’s Do Not Call list. The agency has brought 23 cases against violators.


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