Satellite radio provider Sirius XM offered consumers a free trial of the service. Once the trial was over, the company's telemarketers called consumers to sell a subscription, and kept calling if the consumer declined.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster went to court seeking a preliminary injunction against Sirius XM, saying it was calling consumers who were on the state's Do No Call list. The company responded that it had a right to do so, since it had an "existing relationship" with the customer.

A Missouri court sided with Koster, who has also filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and the Telemarketing No-Call List Act. Koster said harassing telephone solicitation calls were made to consumers soliciting satellite radio subscriptions.

In issuing its order granting the preliminary injunction, the court found that the Attorney General's office had established a probability of success at trial on the merits. The judge found that the Missouri citizens on the no-call list would suffer a hardship if the preliminary injunction were not granted. The judge ruled that the preliminary injunction will be in place throughout the litigation until the full trial on the permanent injunction.

Threat to telemarketers

Should Koster win the lawsuit, telemarketers would find themselves at an even greater disadvantage. When Congress adopted the Do Not Call rule, telemarketers were able to carve out the "existing relationship" exception. If the company could persuade a consumer to accept a free trial, for example, that constituted a "relationship" and negated the Do Not Call rule.

In its ruling on preliminary injunction, the court specifically ordered Sirius XM to stop making repetitive calls to consumers on the no-call list who notified the defendant they rejected the Sirius XM subscription or after their free trial period expired, unless the consumer expressly authorized Sirius XM to call.

"Our office will continue to prosecute any business, regardless of its size, when it makes unlawful telemarketing calls to Missourians registered on our no-call list," Koster said. "It is a consumer's right to demand that illegal telemarketing calls that violate Missouri's laws stop, and no matter how aggressively it fights, no business is immune from Missouri's no-call law. We will continue to go after those who violate the law."