May 2007 - Call Compliance News
The ATA has outlined its legislative and advocacy priorities with regard to regulation and “do-not-call” issues. Protecting the established business relationship exemption is at the top of the list. As you know, Indiana currently has no exemption for established business relationships from its “do-not-call” list.
The FCC has issued a Report and Order regarding “pretexting” and unauthorized access to customer at work information derived from a consumer’s relationship with a telecommunications company. In the proposed rules, telephone companies would be prohibited from disclosing details regarding customer calls over the telephone without a password and telecommunication carriers are required to take reasonable measures to protect their data from unauthorized access. Carriers would be required to obtain opt-in consent from a customer prior to disclosing usage information to joint venturers or independent contractors for the purposes of marketing.
A federal district court in Illinois has entered final orders against three Canadian telemarketers who allegedly defrauded U.S. consumers in an advance fee credit card scheme. The case involved more than $9,000,000 in consumer charges.
The FTC has settled a case involving alleged violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule against several corporate defendants and individuals in the state of Washington. The settlement requires compliance with the national “do-not-call” list, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and state law, as well as a monetary judgment exceeding $20,000,000.
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has requested the Federal Trade Commission to increase efforts to protect elderly consumers from telemarketing fraud.
The FTC has filed suit against several Pennsylvania based defendants alleging violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule in a magazine sales effort. The calls involve claims that the consumers would receive coupons worth more than $1,000 with magazine subscription purchases.
A Las Vegas individual and company have been permanently enjoined from telemarketing or selling business opportunity programs in the future pursuant to the court order which found the defendant in civil contempt of a previous settlement. Most FTC settlements include guarantees regarding future compliance and the potential for contempt penalties if applicable law is not complied with in the future.
The Illinois Senate is considering a bill (SB 34) which would require immediate release of the line, for calls made by an autodialer, once the call is disconnected and require a disclosure of the name, address, and return telephone number within the prerecorded message. Caller ID would also be required to be projected for prerecorded calls and the message must contain an option to allow the consumer to press a button on the key pad to connect with a live operator at any time. This bill has passed the Senate and been referred to the House for consideration.
Maryland’s governor has signed a Consumer Protection of Personal Information Act revision which specifies the contents of a notification a business must make when its records regarding consumers are stolen or otherwise accessed in an unauthorized fashion. Businesses are also required to provide notice of breach to the attorney general based on the new law which is to take effect January 1, 2008.
A federal judge has entered an injunction against Ryan Swanberg prohibiting him from making TCPA claims against companies which have not called him. In a newspaper article, Swanberg wrote that he spends his earnings from these suits on gambling, junk, and Las Vegas Casinos. In a 2005 radio interview he said he has eight telephone numbers and he does not put them on the national “do-not-call” list because “it’s in my best interest to get as many phone calls as I can.”
The Missouri Senate continues to debate legislation concerning prerecorded telephone calls (SB 49). This bill would add all prerecorded calls, including political calls, to those regulated by the Missouri “do-not-call” list.
The New Jersey General Assembly is considering a bill (AB 3765) which would amend the state’s telemarketing law to specifically include prerecorded messages, and would specifically prohibit political party affiliation from being used to determine whether an established business relationship exists between the caller and the consumer receiving the call. No recorded call would be permitted to any consumer whose name was included on the telemarketing “do-not-call” list in New Jersey.
North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, has announced an action against a company which placed prerecorded calls to North Carolina residents and was the largest source of “do-not-call” complaints to his office so far this year.
North Carolina state law is more restrictive than the federal standards on prerecorded calls and bans most calls.
The Rhode Island Senate is considering a bill (SB 104) which would amend the state’s mortgage solicitation law to specifically exclude telemarketing lead generation from the definition of “loan solicitation” such that a mortgage broker or originator license is required. “Telemarketing” is defined narrowly as “contacting a person by telephone with the intention of collecting such person’s name, address, and telephone number, for the sole purpose of allowing a mortgage loan originator to fulfill a loan inquiry.” Several states’ mortgage laws are unclear regarding whether lead generation alone constitutes activities such that a mortgage license is required in that state and you should review the state statutes prior to engaging in mortgage lead generation activity.
South Dakota has revised its telemarketing law to define established business relationship as a call to a person who has made a purchase from the caller in the past eighteen months or an inquiry regarding the caller’s goods or services in the past three months. The standard is now the same as the federal standard.
The Texas House is considering a bill (HB 143) which would include text messages within the definition of “telephone call” subject to the Texas “do-not-call” list.
The Texas Public Utilities Commission has proposed repelling certain rules for telephone solicitation for telecommunications providers.