The Federal Trade Commission today announced the publication of a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment on the Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), which was mandated by Congress in the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 1994.
The Act directed the Commission to develop rules to protect consumers from deceptive telemarketing practices and other abusive telemarketing activities. In response to this mandate, the Commission promulgated the TSR, which requires telemarketers to make specific disclosures of material information; prohibits misrepresentations; sets limits on the times telemarketers may call consumers; prohibits calls to a consumer who has asked not to be called again; and sets payment restrictions for the sale of certain goods and services. The Act requires the Commission to evaluate the operation of the TSR no later than five years following its effective date of December 31, 1995, and to report the results of this review to Congress.
"Five years ago, comments from consumers, industry and law enforcers helped us craft a rule that benefits consumers while helping legitimate telemarketers prosper," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "This process hinges on participation, and we are looking forward to hearing from all interested groups."
The FTC is seeking information about the overall costs and benefits of the TSR, and its regulatory and economic impact since it became effective in 1995. The Request for Comment published in the Federal Register poses specific questions about the Rule, although interested parties are encouraged to comment on any relevant issue, whether or not it is identified in the list of questions.
Six paper copies of each comment should be submitted to the Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room 159, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The Commission is also accepting comments via e-mail at: email@example.com, provided the content of any papers or comments submitted electronically are organized in sequentially numbered pages. All submissions should be identified as "Telemarketing Review - Comment. FTC File No. P994414," and must be received by April 27, 2000.
The Commission also intends to use this rule review to examine telemarketing generally over the past two decades, and to determine its impact on consumers. This broader review will result in a report addressing a variety of telemarketing-related issues including, but not limited to, changes in technology, composition of the industry, efforts at self-regulation, industry trends and the effectiveness of law enforcement and legislation.
As part of the review process, FTC will be holding a public forum on the TSR in Washington, D.C. on July 27-28, 2000. Those interested in participating in this forum should submit a request to participate in writing to Carole I. Danielson, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 238, Washington, DC 20580 by June 16, 2000.
The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0.
Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. P994414)