The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued the amended Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) on January 29, 2003. Like the original TSR issued in 1995, the amended Rule gives effect to the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. This legislation gives the FTC and state attorneys general law enforcement tools to combat telemarketing fraud, give consumers added privacy protections and defenses against unscrupulous telemarketers, and help consumers tell the difference between fraudulent and legitimate telemarketing.
One significant amendment to the TSR prohibits calling consumers who have put their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Another change covers the solicitation of charitable contributions by for-profit telemarketers.
Other key provisions:
- require disclosures of specific information
- prohibit misrepresentations
- limit when telemarketers may call consumers
- require transmission of Caller ID information
- prohibit abandoned outbound calls, subject to a safe harbor
- prohibit unauthorized billing
- set payment restrictions for the sale of certain goods and services
- require that specific business records be kept for two years
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which also regulates telemarketing. The FCC recently amended its TCPA regulations, which touch on many of the topics covered by the TSR. For more information about the TCPA, contact the FCC at www.fcc.gov. The TSR and the TCPA regulations cover nearly all telemarketing with
Many states also have laws regulating telemarketing. The FTC and the FCC are working with states to harmonize Do Not Call requirements at state and federal levels for a unified national system enabling “one-stop” service for consumers, as well as businesses seeking to comply with the requirements. For information about a particular state’s laws, contact the state attorney general’s office or another state consumer protection agency.
If your telemarketing campaigns involve any calls across state lines—whether you make outbound calls or receive calls in response to advertising— you may be subject to the TSR’s provisions. This guide describes the types of organizations and activities that are subject to the TSR and explains how to comply. It is the FTC staff ’s view of the law’s requirements and is not binding on the Commission.