April 2004 - Call Compliance News
The Federal Trade Commission has announced a proposal to require telemarketers to “scrub” against the national “do-not-call” list at least every thirty-one days. This is a change from a previous proposal which required “scrubbing” every thirty days or “once a month.”
The FTC, March 31, 2004, issued amended rules requiring “scrubbing” against the national “do-not-call” list no more than every 31 days. The amended rule would take effect January 1, 2005.
The FTC has obtained an order against a company resolving allegations that it registered persons for the national “do-not-call” list for a fee.
The FTC has also obtained a preliminary injunction against two payment processing companies following allegations that they knowingly processed electronic payments for deceptive telemarketers. Any business can be found liable for violations of telemarketing laws for the businesses it works with if it knows, has reason to know, or consciously avoids knowing of the illegality under the telemarketing sale and continues to provide services to the illegal entity.
A bill has been proposed in the Alabama General Assembly which would require inbound call centers to disclose the name of the telemarketer, the name of the employer of the telemarketer and the city, state and country where the inbound call center is located within the first 30 seconds of the telephone call.
California has filed suit against a Florida mortgage company’s alleged violations of federal and state laws regarding automated messages and the federal “do-not-call” list.
California is considering a bill which would require inbound and outbound call centers to disclose at the beginning of the telephone call whether the employee is in a call center located outside the United States and whether the call is being monitored by a person located outside the United States.
A Georgia appellate court has denied a class certification for a plaintiff who claimed that a wireless company sent her unsolicited faxes. Because she was a customer of this wireless company, the Georgia court agreed with the FCC that, at the time the faxes were sent, the TCPA did not ban them.
MCI has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to resolve alleged violations of the Indiana “do-not-call” list.
The Kentucky House is considering a bill which would require that telephone companies provide a pamphlet or print information on consumers’ bills concerning the state “do-not-call” list.
A bill is being considered by the Louisiana House which would restrict calls between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm and require disclosure of the consumer’s right to be removed from the telemarketer’s call list and a telephone number the consumer could call to complain about the call.
The Louisiana House is also considering a bill which would authorize the state to use the national “do-not-call” list instead of maintaining its own state “do-not-call” list.
The Maine House is considering a bill which would require all providers of electricity to comply with state and federal telemarketing laws.
Missouri has reached a settlement with a St. Louis mortgage company regarding alleged violations of the state “do-not-call” list.
A Nevada telemarketer has been sentenced to at least 5 years in prison for fraud with regard to sales of investments and securities. The defendant is also required to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.
A bill has also been introduced in New York which would raise the fines for violation of the New York “do-not-call” list to $11,000 per violation.
North Carolina’s Attorney General has reached a settlement with four telemarketers regarding alleged violation of the state “do-not-call” list.
Pennsylvania has reached settlements with three telemarketers, including a national magazine company regarding alleged violations of the Pennsylvania “do-not-call” list. The Attorney General has also filed suit against at least two other telemarketers’ alleged violations of the list.
West Virginia has instituted a $250 registration with the Department of Tax and Revenue for telemarketers which are exempt from telemarketing registration because they have been under the same name and ownership for at least 2 years and derive 50% or more of their gross telemarketing sales revenue from supervised financial institutions.
This “registration” appears to be similar to the limited registration found in Arizona, although with a $250 fee. You should review your registration status in the State of West Virginia if you rely on this exemption from telemarketing registration laws.
The Virginia House is considering a bill which would require transmission of caller identification and require telemarketers to play a recorded message in the event of an abandoned call. The bill would also adopt the federal “do-not-call” list instead of creating a state “do-not-call” list.
The Wisconsin Attorney General has obtained a judgment against a Tennessee telemarketer regarding alleged “do-not-call” list violations and use of prerecorded messages. The Consent Judgment involved a $6,556 penalty.