The 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 gave 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
- calls that deliver purely "informational" prerecorded messages
- 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.