Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Telemarketing Sales Rule - Part 1

by: AFI


I was so excited when this rule went into effect. Strange though, it seems that I still get the same number of telemarketing calls... well... Life goes on ;-)



The Federal Trede Commission (FTC) issued the amended Telemarketing Sales Rule on January 29, 2003. This legeslation gives the FTC and state attorneys general law enforcement tools to combat telemarketing fraud.

The rule gives consumers added privacy protections and defenses against unscrupulous telemarketers and prohibits the calling of customers who have put their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Many states also have laws regulating telemarketing. The FTC and the FCC are working with states to harmonize Do Not Call requirements at state and federal levels for a unified national system.

The amended TSR regulates "telemarketing" - defined in the Rule as "a plan, program, or campaign to induce the purchase of goods and services." Telemarketers MUST NOT:

* Call numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry or on that sellers Do Not Call list.
* Deny or interfere with a person's right to be placed on any Do Not Call Registry.
* Call outside permissible calling hours.
* Fail to transmit Caller ID information.
* Threaten or use obscene language to a customer.
* Cause a telephone to ring or converse with a person with the intent to harass, annoy, or abuse the person called. (Thank You!)



INFORMATION THAT MUST BE DISCLOSED BY TELEMARKETERS:


Before a Consumer Pays:

Before telemarketers get a consumers concent to purchase - or persuade a customer to send full or partial payment by check, money order, or any other means - they must provide the customer with the information required by Section 310.3(a)(1) of the Rule. (http://www.fcc.gov/).

Telemarketers must provide the information in a "Clear and Conspicuous" way before asking for any credit card information, or any other information that could be used for them to accept payment. Clear and Conspicuous means that information is presented in a way that a consumer will notice and understand. Oral disclosures are required to be delivered at an understandable speed and pace and in the same tone and volume as the sales offer.

The Rule specifies six broad catigories of information that telemarketers must provide to consumers:

1. Cost and Quantity.
2. Material Restrictions, Conditions or Limitations.
3. Performance, or Central Characteristics.
4. Refund, Repurchase, or Cancellation Policies.
5. Material Aspects of Prize promotions.
6. Affiliations, Endorsements or Sponsorships.

The Rule requires "express verifiable authorization" when payment is made by a method other than a credit card (subject to the Truith in Lending Act and Regulation Z), or a debit card (subject to the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E). The Rule requires that when customers in telemarketing transactions pay by such methods, telemarketers must meet a higher standard of proving authorization.

* The "express verifiable authorization" requirement does not apply to conventional checks that a consumer writes and mails, money orders also. These payment methods have been used for years and consumers are familiar with the relative risks of each.

Under the Rule, authorixation is considered verifiable if it is obtained in one of three ways:

1. Advance written authorization from the customer.
2. An audio recording of the consumer giving express oral authorization.
3. Written confirmation of the transaction sent to the cunsumer before you submit the charge for payment.


We will delve deeper into this topic tomorrow.
Pleasant dreams... AFI

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