FTC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule
On May 21, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) regarding proposed amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”). Notably, the proposed changes would: (1) expressly state that the seller or telemarketer bears the burden of demonstrating an existing business relationship with a customer whose number is listed on the Do Not Call Registry, or that it has obtained an express written agreement from such customer; and (2) clarify that the exemption for calls to businesses extends only to calls inducing sale or contribution from the business, and not to calls inducing sales or contributions from individuals employed by the business. The Commission believes that these proposed revisions are consistent with current enforcement policy. In addition, the FTC proposes to amend the Rule to explicitly state the following requirements, which it also believes are consistent with current enforcement policy. These proposed amendments would:
- Modify the prohibition against sellers sharing the cost of Do Not Call Registry fees to emphasize that the prohibition is absolute;
- Illustrate the types of impermissible burdens on consumers that deny or interfere with their right to be placed on a seller’s or telemarketer’s entity-specific do-not-call list (such as requiring the person to listen to a sales pitch before accepting the Do Not Call request or assessing a charge or fee for honoring the request); and
- Clarify that the recording memorializing the express verifiable authorization required before a seller or telemarketer bills a customer or donor (unless payment is made by debit or credit card) must include an accurate description, clearly and conspicuously stated, of the goods or services or charitable contribution for which the payment authorization is sought.