FTC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Amendment of Telemarketing Sales Rule

Proposal Would Require Monthly, Rather Than Quarterly, List "Scrubbing"

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For Release

As required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, the Federal Trade Commission today announced a proposal to amend the "Do Not Call" provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to require that telemarketers subject to the Rule access the National Do Not Call Registry and purge numbers on the Registry from their call lists every month. The TSR currently requires telemarketers to do this on a quarterly basis.

The FTC proposes to amend the TSR's Do Not Call safe harbor provision to substitute the phrase "thirty (30) days" for the phrase "three (3) months" that currently appears in that provision.

The Commission is requesting comment on two specific issues. First, it requests comment on the proposed amendment's use of the phrase "thirty (30) days" rather than "once a month," the phrase currently in the statute. The "thirty (30) days" language is used for greater clarity and to effectuate the two-fold intent of the Congress in the Appropriations Act, which was to shorten from quarterly to monthly the interval for telemarketers and sellers to purge registered telephone numbers from their calling lists, and to enable consumers to assert valid Do Not Call complaints one month after entering their numbers on the Registry - rather than waiting three months, as they must do now. The Commission also is seeking comment on the appropriate effective date for this amendment.

A Federal Register notice will be published shortly seeking public comment on the proposal. The Act requires the FTC to amend the TSR, as proposed, within 60 days after the Act was passed.

Because of this statutory deadline, the comment period on the proposed rulemaking terminates on February 26, 2004. The notice contains specific information on how the public can provide comments to the Commission.

The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0.

Copies of the notice of proposed rulemaking 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 FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

(FTC File No. R411001)

Contact Information

Media Contact:

Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs

Staff Contact:

Catherine Harrington-McBride
Bureau of Consumer Protection