Blog Posts Tagged with Telemarketing

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Closed encounters of the third kind

Savvy executives like to stay in the loop on FTC activities that could affect their industry.   They make it a habit to scan the headlines or check for relevant workshops or reports.  But there’s a third category of information a bit less understood: closing letters from BCP staff.

In the spirit of transparency, the agency posts them online.  Here in the BCP Business Center, recent letters appear in the Compliance Documents section of each topic area.

Room with review

Is your briefcase feeling lighter? That’s because your dog-eared copy of Volume 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations (where most FTC rules and guides live) is decidedly thinner these days. For the past two decades, the agency has undertaken a systematic review of its rules and guides to make sure they’re up to date, effective, and not overly burdensome. As each rule comes up for review, we ask ourselves — and you — four questions:

Workshop to examine lottery, other money transfer scams

It may have happened to an employee, one of your customers, or a member of your family.  Someone calls to report “You’re a winner!” of a foreign lottery.  To collect, all they have to do is wire money to cover the taxes and fees.  Or the caller impersonates a grandchild or other friend-in-need and says they’re desperate to have money wired now.  Both are examples of the elaborate schemes scam artists have come up with to try to convince people to wire cash to someone they don’t know.

Welcome to Consumer University

As your customers' buying habits make clear, today’s consumer marketplace knows no borders.  That’s why the FTC and officials from nine Latin American countries are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week to consider the challenges of global consumer protection.

NCP Double-YOU

Break out the bubbly and raise a toast:  It's National Consumer Protection Week.  NCPW is an annual campaign sponsored by the FTC and nearly 30 other federal agencies, consumer groups, and advocacy organizations, in conjunction with state, county, and local government offices that are sponsoring events nationwide.  The goal?  To encourage consumers to take full advantage of their rights and make better-informed decisions.

A Friendly Reminder

Paying millions in refunds.
Doing business under stringent injunctive provisions.
Posting hefty bonds before selling certain products.

For most people, the potential consequences of an FTC enforcement action are enough deterrent to stay within the bounds of the law.  But some marketers just don’t seem to get the message, as two recent cases demonstrate.

Immigration Consternation

Chances are a person you know — an employee, someone who works in your building, a neighbor perhaps — is navigating the process of getting a green card or work visa. Do them a favor and warn them about outfits that falsely claim an affiliation with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Forum on fighting phone bill ills

It may have happened to you.  You open the monthly phone bill at your business or at home and find charges for goods or services you never ordered.  It’s called cramming — and it’s illegal.

The FTC has brought numerous law enforcement actions against companies who “cram” unauthorized charges onto people’s phone bills.  This $38 million judgment entered by a federal court in California is just one example, but what more can be done to prevent it?

Four Steps to Protecting Your Business from Con Artists

You've just opened an invoice for office supplies you didn't order or for a listing in a business directory. It’s the same invoice you got last week – but this one is stamped "Past Due." Perhaps one of your colleagues says there's someone hounding her on the phone, demanding payment for Internet services your business didn’t request. You refuse to pay, and the next thing you know, they're threatening to take you to court, or turn the bill over to a collection agency and ruin your credit.

ID-ylls of the Ring: FTC rethinks TSR’s Caller ID provisions

When the FTC amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule in 2003, it required telemarketers to transmit Caller ID information.  That policy had three benefits.  It promoted privacy by allowing people to screen out unwanted telemarketing calls.  It increased industry accountability by making it harder for companies to remain anonymous.  And it helped law enforcement by making it easier to identify fraudsters and companies who violated the Do Not Call Registry.

"Liability? Shmiability. We're just processing payments."

Short-sighted thinking like that has landed a lot of businesses in hot water with law enforcers.  They forget that the reach of federal and state consumer protection statutes can be expansive.  Under appropriate circumstances, payment processors – as well businesses handling ad copy, telemarketing, fulfillment, and a host of other functions – may be liable for the role they play in another company’s deceptive or unfair practices.

New Compliance Resources for the Debt Relief Industry

The last thing people struggling to keep their heads above perilous financial waters need is an anchor weighing them down. That's why, as of today, businesses must comply with all provisions of new amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule designed to curb deception in the sale of debt relief services.

Most importantly, companies that use outbound telemarketing -- or have customers call them in response to ads or other solicitations -- can’t collect fees from customers until:


• they successfully settle or change the terms of at least one of their debts;

Miracle on 36th Street

In the holiday classic "Miracle on 34th Street," optimists and skeptics debated the existence of Kris Kringle. Nobody would liken effective advertising self-regulation to Santa Claus, but the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) – located on 36th Street in New York – has made believers out of a lot of people. Kicking off its annual conference today, the NAD is a forum for monitoring and evaluating truth and accuracy in national advertising.

The Dupe of URL

No, not the doowop song by Gene Chandler, but a form of fraud aimed at small businesses and non-profits. Here’s how the scam works: Con artists send fake invoices to businesses, listing the domain name or URL of the company’s website or a slight variation – like substituting ".org" for ".com." The bills, designed to look like they come from a domain name registrar, say the company owes money for its annual "website address listing" and "search optimization" service. Busy entrepreneurs are led to believe they have to pay to keep the company URL up and running.

BCP Business Center: Your Link to the Law

Welcome to the BCP Business Center:  Your Link to the Law.  Explore and you’ll find practical compliance guidance on advertising, telemarketing, credit, data security, and other need-to-know topics for business owners and marketing professionals.  What else will you find?  The latest word on upcoming workshops, hot-off-the-presses staff reports, and new compliance videos.  We’ll do our best to keep things to the point with a minimum of ho-hum, a maximum of how-to, and as little yadda yadda yadda as a legal website can manage. 

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