February 9, 2005
St. Louis, Mo. — Southwestern Bell Telephone, the largest certified local exchange carrier in Missouri, became the fourth major telephone corporation to agree to not call the 1.7 million Missouri homes on the state No Call list. Attorney General Jay Nixon was in St. Louis today to announce the agreement, which resolves a lawsuit he filed against Southwestern Bell in July 2003.
Nixon alleged the telephone company, which does business as SBC Missouri, violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making repeat telemarketing calls to consumers who had specifically asked the company to not call again. SBC admitted in the court-approved assurance of voluntary compliance that it had violated the law at least 100 times in making telemarketing calls.
"With this agreement, the last of the four major telephone companies will no longer be making telemarketing calls to Missourians on the No Call list," Nixon said. The agreement was approved on Tuesday (Feb. 8) by St. Louis City Circuit Judge David L. Dowd.
SBC joins Sprint, MCI and AT&T in being bound by agreements with the Attorney General to honor the No Call list. Sprint agreed to cease telemarketing calls to the No Call list in September 2003; MCI and AT&T, which Nixon had sued, reached agreements in July 2004. Nixon said the agreements plug the last major loophole in Missouri's No Call law, under which telephone companies obtained an exemption when the law was enacted in 2000.
"This has been a long fight, but at last we have secured agreements that will help Missourians stop telemarketing calls from what had been a major source of those calls," Nixon said. "Time at home now has become even quieter, with fewer unwanted telemarketing calls."
Under the agreement, SBC will obtain a copy of the Missouri No Call list as it becomes updated four times a year, and must refrain from calling those on the list. SBC also will pay the state of Missouri $150,000 as part of the resolution of the lawsuit. MCI paid $40,000 to the state, and AT&T $10,000 as part of the earlier agreements.
Missouri residents not yet on the No Call list can register to have their numbers included. Consumers may register by going online or calling toll free 1-866-NOCALL1 (1-866-662-2551).