Blog Posts Tagged with Telemarketing

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Acc-cen-tuate the negative?

Acc-cen-tuate the positive.
Eliminate the negative.
Latch on to the affirmative.
And don't mess with Mr. In-Between.

That's how the catchy Bing Crosby-Andrews Sisters number went in the 40s. When it comes to negative options now, the message for marketers is to explain things positively.

Hey, Rachel. The FTC is going DEF CON.

Hey, Rachel the Robocaller.  Every month we get 150,000 complaints about you and your robocalling besties.  We’ve sued dozens of them.  We’ve sponsored a national challenge to make your life harder.  But this time, Rach, the gloves are off.  We’re going DEF CON on you and we’re launching a particularly powerful surface-to-robocall missile with your name on it.

Cram doesn't pay

Cramming unauthorized charges onto phone bills violates the FTC Act, of course.  But depending on the circumstances, cases like that also can result in criminal prosecution.  Two brothers who bilked consumers out of millions as part of a cramming scam are now behind bars – giving a whole new meaning to the term “cell phone.”  And the prosecutors who brought the case, Assistant United States Attorneys Hallie Mitchell Hoffman and Kyle F.

Generation gap?

There’s not much talk anymore about the Generation Gap – at least not in terms of crazy teens and their rock ‘n’ roll music.  But there’s another kind of Generation Gap that has the FTC concerned:  the compliance gap between the established standards of the National Do Not Call Registry and the way some companies are using lists from lead generators without careful consideration of how those lists were compiled.  An FTC settlement with Versatile Marketing Solutio

(Con)tempting fate

We’re not lyricists, but had the 1972 hit “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” been addressed to defendants in FTC actions, here’s our proposed rewrite:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.

You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t engage in acts and practices in contempt of a United States District Judge’s Permanent Injunction.

Practicing what we preach

"Disclose the cost upfront."  We tell businesses that all the time, so it’s important we follow our own advice.  In that spirit, fees for telemarketers accessing the National Do Not Call Registry are going up a smidge as of October 1, 2013.

Under the law, telemarketers have to download numbers on the Do Not Call Registry to make sure they don’t call people who have said they want to be left alone.  The first five area codes are free.  Exempt groups, like some bona fide charities, can get the list at no charge.

FTC and Colorado AG: Infomercial pitchman's promissory promises not premised on truth

According to the ubiquitous infomercials, to rake in the big bucks with Russell Dalbey’s “wealth-building” programs, all you had to do was “Find ‘Em,” “List ‘Em,” and “Make Money" — the “‘Em” being seller-financed promissory notes.  The pitch was convincing to the close to one million people who bought the programs.  But according to the FTC and Colorado AG, the defendants’ claims of quick and easy money were deceptive.

Saluting Military Consumer Protection Day

Members of the military face unique consumer protection challenges.  For example, when the brakes go or the basement floods, it’s not easy to find trustworthy local businesses if you’re new in town.  And deployments, TDYs, and relocations can make it tougher to spot the early signs of identity theft.  So what can your business do to make things easier for military families?

FTC's record-setting Do Not Call settlement: 4 tips for business and one candid suggestion

Yesterday’s 10th anniversary of the National Do Not Call Registry was a good time to reflect on a decade of progress.  But to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson (or Patrick Henry, Irish statesman John Philpot Curran, or whoever else said it), eternal vigilance is the price of an uninterrupted dinner hour.  A record-setting $7.5 million settlement with a national mortgage broker demonstrates the FTC’s commitment to the fight against

10 years of National Do Not Call: Looking back and looking ahead

To etiquette purists, the 10th anniversary dictates gifts of metal.  So to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the National Do Not Call Registry, the FTC presents this iron-clad guarantee:  You can count on us to continue to take action against companies that violate the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as today’s $7.5 million civil penalty — the largest ever collected in an FTC Do Not Call case — demonstrates.

Telemarketing violations? Court ruling suggests distance, not assistance

The Telemarketing Sales Rule outlaws a variety of deceptive practices.  But liability isn’t limited just to the companies that place the calls or the marketers that hire them.  It’s also illegal to “provide substantial assistance or support” to a seller or telemarketer when you know or consciously avoid knowing they’re violating the Rule.  A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit unpacks that portion of the

Last resort

Three FTC cases, 83 civil actions brought by 28 states, more than 184 defendants facing criminal charges in cases filed by federal and local prosecutors, and 25 actions brought by agencies in 10 other countries.  If you’re unclear on whether law enforcers are presenting a united front against travel-related fraud, then we have some oceanfront property to sell you.

Calling for comments about proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule

We’re not one to loft accolades in the direction of fraudulent telemarketers, but we’ll say this about them:  They’re a quick study when it comes to using new technologies and business methods to their shady advantage.  As part of its ongoing effort to protect consumers from deceptive telemarketing, the FTC is proposing amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that would curtail the use of certain kinds of payments that have become fast favorites among fraudsters.

Assist-sense: Insights on liability under the Telemarketing Sales Rule

Lending a helping hand is great when you’re talking about a barn raising, a rent party, or assisting a little old lady across the street.  But when the activity in question is, well, questionable — like selling businesses technology that can be used to place illegal robocalls — companies need to make sure they’re not assisting and facilitating violations of the law.  That’s one message your clients should take from the FTC’s settlement with Skyy Consulting, which also does business under the name CallFire.

Fraud harms 25.6 million people: Anyone you know?

The FTC is always working to know more about the types of fraud being committed and who spends money on them.  Periodically, we survey consumers and ask them to share details about their recent marketplace experiences and a bit about themselves.  Our most recent survey found that nearly 11% of U.S. adults — an estimated 25.6 million people — paid for fraudulent products and services in 2011.

Room for improve-mint

The Hobby Protection Act is something of a misnomer.  Most hobbies don’t need much by way of protection.  But if you or your clients are involved in the sale of coins or certain collectibles, it’s a law you need to know about.  The FTC’s settlement with the National Collector’s Mint and Avram C. Freedberg alleges violations of the Hobby Protection Act — and also raises interesting issues about how the company’s automated ordering system compounded other deceptive practices challenged in the case.

Masquer-aid?

Usually we lay out the facts of a case and then summarize what we see as the take-away tips for business.  But this time we’re switching things up.  Here are the two bottom-line messages from the FTC’s ongoing action against The Cuban Exchange:  It’s a Bad Idea to use robocalls to impersonate familiar groups in an effort to trick people into turning over their bank account info and other sensitive data.  And it’s a Really Bad Idea when the group you impersonate is the Federal Trade Commission.

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