Review--Comment. FTC File No. P994414
I. General Questions for Comment
1. Is there a continuing need for the TSR?
(a) Since the Rule was issued, have changes in technology, industry structure, or
economic conditions affected the need for or effectiveness of the Rule?
- No. The changes that have taken place haven't affected the need for or effectiveness of
the Rule. The new industry technologies have actually helped the telemarketing firms with
respect to its ability to enforce the do-not-call provision of the Rule.
(b) Does the Rule include provisions that are unnecessary? If so, which ones?
- No. The Rule, as initially written, substantiates the overall effectiveness and consumer
rights. It protects the consumer.
(c) What are the aggregate costs and benefits of the Rule?
- Aggregate Costs:
DMA's do-not-call lists
Other state lists
Initial programming for lists acceptance
Internal procedures for compliance
Training of internal staff
Basically, the telemarketing firms are responsible for subscribing to the DMA's
do-not-call lists and other state lists, which provides up-to-date information regarding
individuals who have expressed a desire not to receive telemarketing solicitation. In
addition, the telemarketing firms have instituted its internal procedures to comply with
The benefits are:
Consumer rights not to be solicited or solicited via telemarketing
Well informed telemarketing firm staff members
Well informed consumers
Brings creditability to the telemarketing industry
(d) Have the costs or benefits of the Rule dissipated over time?
- No. The ongoing costs for list purchases is constant.
Does the Rule contain provisions that have imposed costs not outweighed by benefits?
2. What effect, if any, has the Rule benefited consumers?
(a) What economic or other costs has the Rule imposed on consumers?
(b) How has the Rule benefited consumers?
- It provides the consumer a right of choice. The consumer has the right of choice
regarding solicitation via telemarketing or not. They have a voice and a right of choice.
(c) What changes, if any, should be made to the Rule to increase the benefits to
consumers? How would these changes affect the compliance costs the Rule imposes on the
- As part of the telemarketing firms' internal procedures, a provision may be needed to
inform the consumer of:
-Where and to whom they may call or write to to add their name, address and telephone
number to the current Do-Not-Call list administered by the DMA
-A clear statement regarding the consumers request and the ramifications that will affect
- States may elect to work together to increase the likelihood of reduced fraud and an
overall increased consumer awareness of their rights.
- The above changes may not affect the overall costs for the industry. However, the
consumer may be well informed and knowledgeable regarding the overall affect for them.
(d) Is the incidence of telemarketing fraud greater today than five years ago? Less
than five years ago? Has consumer awareness of telemarketing fraud increased since the
adoption of the Rule? If so, what are the sources of information on this issue for
consumers? What effect, if any, has increased consumer awareness had on law enforcement?
- Yes. Sources may be:
- 1) State laws
- 2) Telemarketing representative due to a telemarketing call
- 3) Public awareness through the media
- 4) Consumer groups
- It forces the telemarketing firms to comply and acknowledge the consumers' request not
to be solicited via telemarketing. It has added value, respect, and creditability to the
3. What impact, if any, has the Rule had on entities that must comply with it?
(a) What economic or other costs has the Rule imposed on industry or individual firms?
- The costs involved are not substantial in nature. The costs initially might include
programming and time to proceduralize its internal processes for compliance. This may be
the highest out-of-pocket expenses incurred. Other expenses include the purchase of lists
such as the DMA's list and other individual state lists.
(b) How has the Rule benefited industry or individual firms?
- It has added value, respect and creditability to the telemarketing industry.
(c) What changes, if any, should be made to the Rule to minimize any burden or cost
imposed on industry or individual firms? How would these changes affect the benefits
provided by the Rule to consumers or industry?
(d) Are there regulatory alternatives to the Rule that might reduce any adverse
economic effect of the Rule, yet comply with the mandate of the Telemarketing Act to
provide consumers with necessary protection from telemarketing deception and abuse?
- Yes. Involvement of the states regarding its individual state laws, similar to the
insurance industry and the involvement of the state insurance commissioners. The states
may elect to work together sharing data, informational strategies, and collective ways to
effectively protect consumers. With numerous states enacting so many new laws, it may only
add to or make compliance confusing for the industry. If the consumer has the right of
choice, then it may be important at the state level to realize the value of working
together state to state.
4. How has this Rule affected sellers or telemarketers that are small
businesses with respect to costs, profitability, and competitiveness? Have the costs or
benefits of the Rule dissipated over time with respect to small business sellers or
- It is difficult to say how the Rule affects small businesses. The costs are too costly
for small businesses. Yet, it may be difficult to measure compliance to the Rule by small
businesses in the industry.
5. Doe the Rule overlay or conflict with other federal, state, or local
government laws or regulations?
(a) What is the impact on the industry of state-by-state regulation of telemarketing?
- It's difficult for the industry to keep current and up-to-date with changing and newly
enacted state laws. The DMA is probably the best source for state-by-state regulations.
(b) Are there any conflicting laws or regulations governing telemarketers, and if so,
what are they? If conflicts exist, how do telemarketers address them?
(d) To what extend have private parties and state attorney general brought actions
under the TSR? Under other statutes/regulations?
(e) Are there any gaps where no federal, state, or local government law or regulation
has addressed a particular abuse?
6. Has the mingling of Internet and telemarketing technology had an impact on
the effectiveness of the TSR? If so, how? Should the TSR be amended to address this issue,
and if so, how?
- To date, not to my knowledge; however, future new advances in technology may warrant a
provision to protect consumers regarding unwanted solicitations. It's my understanding
that industry technology is focused on communicating directly with a consumer once the
consumer initiates the communication.
- The Internet is another source of communication that may warrant its own provision to
the Rule for consumer protection.
Miscellaneous Added Information:
Do-Not-Call provision of the Rule:
The do-not-call provision of the Rule may be more effective for consumers if it
provides a clear directive for the telemarketing industry to:
- (1) Advise the consumers of their rights
- (2) States clearly the company's do-not-call lists that they will be added to
- (3) Provides the consumer with the information to contact the DMA and other sources to
be added to its Do-Not-Call list
- (4) Provides a time frame for complying to the consumers requests
Regarding small businesses:
- More focus on compliance to the Rule may be needed at the small business level. It's
difficult for small businesses to be well informed regarding the Rule in general and at
the state level. Individual states may take an active role in informing small businesses
regarding the Rule and its laws that pertain to the Rule, allowing state businesses to be
well informed and knowledgeable.