FTC Rules on Telemarketing

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The Federal Trade Commission has implemented new rules that are designed to further enhance the nationwide ‘do not call’ list. The national ‘do not call’ registry is a list of citizens in the United States of people who do not wish to be called by telemarketers on their home phone or on their cell phone. When a telemarketer calls, a person can tell them never to call again because they are on the ‘do not call’ list or can request that they are placed on their ‘do not call’ list for future calls.

The new provisions to the telemarketing rules can cost telemarketers $11,000 per call that violates the rules. "These amendments redefine the nature of telemarketing for both consumers and businesses," said FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris. "They protect consumers' privacy, give them a choice about whether to receive most telemarketing calls, and provide enhanced protections against fraudulent telemarketers. Soon, signing up for the national "do not call" registry will be just a mouse click or toll-free call away." The ‘do not call’ list will not cost anyone that wishes to be listed on it anything but it will cost telemarketers a fee to have access to the list. They need access to the list so they can scrub their list and make sure that people on their list are not on the ‘do not call’ list.

One of the new provisions of the Federal Trade Commission’s rules on telemarketing is the Caller-ID Rule. The Caller-ID Rule will require telemarketers to register with a consumer’s Caller-ID service so that consumers will know who is calling before they answer the phone. This new rule will also help law enforcement officials better track which telemarketing companies are following the new rules of the ‘do not call’ list and which ones aren’t.

Have you ever answered the phone and have heard nothing but dead air? This is a result of there not being enough sales representatives at the telemarketing company to talk with consumers that answer the phone. This happens because the telemarketing company will use a system to call a large number of consumers all at once and the dead air is a result of the call being abandoned. This is illegal for telemarketers to do under the new Federal Trade Commission rules and is known as the Call Abandonment Rule. The basic new set of provisions being set forth by the Federal Trade Commission are the following:

  • Crack down on unauthorized billing by telemarketers
  • Impose tight new restrictions on the practice of "call abandonment" - where consumers answer the phone, only to hear silence, or "dead air"
  • Require telemarketers to transmit Caller-ID information, so that consumers who subscribe to Caller-ID services will know who is calling

Another of the new rules going into effect for the New Year is a Billing Authorization Provision. This new provision will require that telemarketers not ask consumers for their account number unless they are actually processing a payment for goods or services or for a charitable donation and the access to the account number must be approved by the consumer.

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