Consumer groups, telecommunications and pay-per-call industry representatives, state law enforcement and regulatory agencies and others will take part in a two-day workshop, May 20 and 21, at the Federal Trade Commission to discuss proposed changes to the Commission's Pay-Per-Call Rule. The Commission previously published proposed amendments to the Rule, including provisions to combat telephone bill "cramming" - inserting unauthorized charges on consumers' phone bills - and other abuses in the sale of products and services that are billed to the telephone, including voicemail, 900-number services, and other telephone-based information and entertainment services. A Federal Register Notice of October 30, 1998 solicited comments on the proposed Rule amendments, and invited commenters to apply to participate in a workshop forum. The workshop will provide participants and the public the opportunity to discuss the issues, including the use of 800 and other toll-free numbers to offer pay-per-call services, the scope of the Rule, the dispute resolution process, and the need for obtaining authorization from consumers prior to charging their telephone bills.
The two-day workshop will take place in Room 432 at the FTC headquarters, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, beginning at 8:30 am each day, and is open to the media and the public. Participants include consumer groups, local and long-distance telephone companies, state law enforcement and regulatory agencies, pay-per-call providers, and associations representing broad interests ranging from service providers to billers of non-telecommunications services on telephone bills. There will be an opportunity for members of the public to make oral presentations on both afternoons, following the conclusion of the discussion by participants of the agenda items.
Copies of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, as well as the comments on the proposal and the agenda for the workshop, 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, NW, Washington, DC 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.