FTC Testifies on the Call Center Consumers Right to Know Act

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission provided testimony today before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection regarding H.R. 1776, legislation entitled the “Call Center Consumer’s Right to Know Act.” Lois Greisman, Associate Director of the Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, testified on behalf of the FTC.

The Commission’s testimony began by discussing the agency’s law enforcement experience with call centers, which is based primarily on its enforcement of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the privacy protections provided by the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. The testimony next provided a history of the Commission’s telemarketing fraud law enforcement program, dating back to 1991, and of the agency’s enforcement of the DNC Registry which was put into place in 2003 to strengthen consumers’ privacy protections.

As an example of the agency’s telemarketing fraud enforcement program, the testimony described “Operation Tele-PHONEY,” the largest law enforcement sweep of the telemarketing industry ever conducted by the FTC. In May 2008, the FTC and other agencies announced they had brought more than 180 civil and criminal law enforcement actions targeting illegal telemarketing due to the sweep and interagency cooperation. The testimony also described how the FTC refers cases for criminal prosecution and how it pursues third parties that facilitate telemarketing fraud.

The testimony then discussed H.R. 1776, which would require call center employees to disclose, in telephone calls with consumers, the physical location of the call center. The Commission provided comments on the draft legislation relating to its scope and enforcement and expressed its willingness to work with the Committee as the legislation progresses.

The Commission vote to approve the testimony and place a copy on the public record was 4-0. The written statement presented at the hearing represents the views of the FTC.

Copies of the Commission’s testimony 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, DC 20580. The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(FTC File No. P034412)
(Call Center Testimony.final.wpd)

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