Telemarketers to Pay $1.2 Million in Civil Penalties for TSR Violations
Time 2 Minute Read
Categories: Enforcement, Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") recently settled complaints against two telemarketing companies that allegedly called numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.  The companies will pay a combined total of nearly $1.2 million dollars in civil penalties to settle charges that their marketing practices ran afoul of the Telemarketing Sales Rule ("TSR").

According to the FTC's complaints, one of the parties purchased telephone numbers from a lead-generating website that harvests consumer information through travel surveys, and the other obtained numbers from online sweepstakes entry forms.  In both cases, most of the numbers collected and called had been registered on the Do Not Call list.  

The FTC deemed insufficient putative notification to consumers that they would receive telemarketing calls because the language was "buried in [the] 'terms and conditions' or 'privacy policy' pages" of the harvesting website.  The FTC also asserted that a waiver contained in the fine print on the back of the sweepstakes entry form did not provide the "express agreement" necessary to call consumers whose numbers are on the Do Not Call list.  The FTC repudiated the notion that completing the entry form had created an "established business relationship," stating that a reasonable consumer would not have expected that filling out the online form would result in telemarketing calls.

In addition to having called numbers on the Do Not Call registry, one of the parties was also charged with violations of the TSR's abandoned call provisions because it failed to connect calls to a sales agent within two seconds of when the call recipient answered.

Links to the relevant complaints, as well as the consent orders entered by the federal court, can be found here on the FTC's website.


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