FTC Approves Federal Register Notice on Enforcement of the Call Abandonment Provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule

For Your Information

Commission approval of Federal Register notice: The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice granting four petitions seeking an extension of its previously announced policy of forbearing from enforcement of the call abandonment provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) against telemarketers that deliver prerecorded messages.

As detailed in the notice, on October 4, 2006, the FTC published a notice in the Federal Register that announced, among other things: 1) the denial of an industry petition to add a proposed new safe harbor to the call abandonment provisions of the TSR that would have permitted telemarketers to deliver prerecorded messages to consumers with whom the seller has an established business relationship; 2) revocation, effective January 2, 2007, of the Commission’s policy of not bringing enforcement actions against companies that use prerecorded messages in accordance with the previously proposed safe harbor; and 3) a proposal to amend the TSR to make explicit a prohibition of telemarketing calls delivering prerecorded messages that is currently implicit in the TSR’s call abandonment prohibition. The prerecorded message proposal provides an exception permitting such calls if the seller has obtained a consumer’s express prior written consent to receive them.

In today's notice, the FTC announces that it will extend beyond January 2, 2007, its policy of not bringing enforcement actions against sellers and telemarketers delivering prerecorded messages in accordance with the previously proposed safe harbor until the completion of the prerecorded call amendment proceeding. The notice reiterates the requirements of the safe harbor, and emphasizes that the forbearance policy applies only to prerecorded telemarketing calls that comply completely with the safe harbor requirements.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. Copies are available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release, and the notice will be published in the Register soon. (FTC File No. R411001; the staff contact is Allen Hile, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3122; see press releases dated October 3 and November 3, 2006.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
FTC Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180