Commission Extends Public Comment Period on Pay-Per-Call Rule Revisions

Agency Believes 60-day Extension Warranted to Ensure Adequate Time for Commenters to Respond to Comprehensive Proposal

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the date by which comments must be submitted concerning the review of its Trade Regulation Rule Pursuant to the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992 ("Pay-Per-Call Rule"), 16 CFR Part 308. A notice approved by the Commission, to be published shortly in the Federal Register, informs prospective commenters of the extension and sets a new date of March 10, 1999 for the end of the comment period, and new dates of May 20 and 21, 1999, for the public workshop. The notice will also inform interested parties of typesetting errors in the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published in the Federal Register on October 30, 1998. Finally, the notice will inform interested parties that, for the convenience of the commenters, certain materials that were cited in the NPRM will soon be made available for public inspection at the FTC's Public Reference Section.

A proposal approved by the FTC to revise its Pay-Per-Call Rule -- including provisions that will combat telephone bill cramming -- was approved by the Commission on October 22, 1998 and published in the Federal Register on October 30th. (See FTC Press Release dated October 23rd for details regarding the current Rule and proposed revisions). At that time, the Commission published a request for comment on its proposed changes to its Pay-Per-Call Rule. The Pay-Per-Call Rule governs the advertising and operation of pay-per-call services, and establishes billing dispute procedures for those services as well as for other telephone-billed purchases. The comment period is currently scheduled to close on January 8, 1999, and the public workshop was originally scheduled for February 25 and 26, 1999.

On December 14, 1998, a diverse group representing a broad cross-section of interests -- including industry, telephone companies, and consumer groups -- filed a Joint Request for Extension of Comment Deadline, in which they requested an extension of the comment period by 30 days to February 8, 1999. The parties indicated that additional time was required to prepare thorough, thoughtful responses to the comprehensive and complex set of proposals contained in the NPRM. Subsequently, the Commission received two additional formal requests for extension; the first also seeking an additional 30 days, and the second seeking a 60-day extension of the comment period.

In order to provide sufficient time for these and other interested parties to prepare useful comments, the Commission has decided to extend the deadline for comments by sixty (60) days, until March 10, 1999. The Commission has likewise rescheduled the public workshop for May 20 and 21, 1999.

The Commission vote to extend the comment deadline by 60 days and reschedule the public workshop was 4-0.

The notice regarding the extension of the comment period until March 10, 1999, will be published in the Federal Register shortly. Notification of interest in participating in the public workshop must be submitted on or before March 10, 1999. The public workshop will be held at the Federal Trade Commission on May 20 and 21, 1999, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.

Copies of the notice of the 60-day extension for submission of comments and information about how to submit comments on the Commission's proposed changes to its Pay-Per-Call Rule are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

 

(FTC File No. R611016)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180
Staff Contact:
Adam Cohn
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3411