1. What are the state and Federal laws that regulate telemarketing?
Answer: Two Federal laws govern the activities of telemarketers, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) administered by the Federal Trade Commission, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) administered by the Federal Communication Commission. The regulations under both laws were amended in 2003 to require compliance with a new National Do Not Call Registry. Furthermore, dozens of states have Do Not Call laws in place to regulate telemarketing, many of them implementing state Do Not Call lists. A summary of state Do Not Call laws is available under the Regulatory Information link on this site.
Answer: The state and Federal telemarketing Do Not Call laws mandate that all telemarketers must:
Answer: Currently there are three types of Do Not Call lists with which telemarketing agents must comply:
4. When does the new National Do Not Call Registry go into effect?
Answer: The first version of the National DNC Registry was published on September 1st, 2003. It will be illegal to call any number on that list on or after October 1st, 2003. For any phone number added to the list after September 1st, 2003, it is illegal to call such number ninety (90) days after it is added to the list.
This applies to both “Telemarketers” (any person or company that makes calls to sell products or service to consumers) and “Sellers” (any company who causes others to make calls to consumers to sell products or services).
5. How many phone numbers are expected to be on the National list?
Answer: The FTC has estimated that about 68 million consumer phone numbers will be on the list after one year. This number represents 40 percent of all residential phone numbers in the United States. The FTC allows each consumer to register up to three separate numbers at a time through its web site, including wireless phone numbers.
Answer: A single violation of these Federal laws can cost up to $11,000. Additional fines can be levied at the state level if state telemarketing laws are violated.
Answer: State fines vary from $500 per violation to $25,000 per violation, depending on the state. States are required to report violations to the FTC and FCC, which could compound the state fines with the $11,000.00 per violation Federal fine.
Answer: No, calls to referrals are considered telemarketing calls and are regulated by the laws at the Federal and state levels. If the referral phone number appears on any Do Not Call list, the consumer could report the call to the state and or Federal government, which could result in a fine.
Answer: No, any call to a Do Not Call phone number is considered a Do Not Call violation unless you have express written consent from the consumer being called or otherwise qualify for an exemption.
Answer: There are no longer any “industry” exemptions. Between the FTC and FCC rules, all industries are now covered by the Do Not Call requirements.
There are only two meaningful exemptions to the National Do Not Call requirements: 1) an exemption for an "existing business relationship" (defined as a transaction with the consumer within the past18 months or an application or inquiry within the past 3 months), and 2) an exemption for consumers from whom you have "express written authorization" to call (with a signature from the consumer showing the phone number you can call).
There is no exemption from the National Do Not Call Registry for calls to set up face-to-face sales meetings. Even intrastate calling is covered by the FCC.
Non-"sales" calls are largely exempt from the National DNC registry, including political fundraising calls, surveys, and calls made by charities. However, for-profit fundraisers are not exempt.
Answer: Yes, Federal law allows you to call an existing customer whose number is on the National Do Not Call Registry up to18 months from the date of your last transaction with the customer or up to 3 months from the date of an application or inquiry. Many states have different, sometimes more stringent, definitions of the “existing business relationship” (EBR). Please click on the Regulatory Information link in this web site and select the Established Business Relation link to view additional details about these laws.
Answer: Yes, the Federal laws allow a telemarketer to contact a consumer whose phone number appears on the National list, if the consumer has given the telemarketer their express written consent to call, including a signature from the consumer and the phone number that may be called.
Answer: DNCQuickcheck is an Internet-based business tool used for complying with all aspects of state and federal Do Not Call laws. It allows you to check the Do Not Call status of phone numbers, add phone numbers to your Do Not Call list, have Do Not Call policies sent to consumers, receive training on Do Not Call laws, and view reports of your compliance activities. Click on the “Take a Tour” link for a complete walk-through of the features of the service.
Answer: The compliance reports available through the DNCQuickcheck application can provide proof that you have taken the necessary steps to comply with the relevant state and Federal laws. The compliance reporting area allows you to research all compliance activities and provide these reports to the government to attempt to establish an “affirmative defense” or disprove the alleged violation.