The FTC Enhances Telemarketing Sales Rule

  • The FTC has announced two significant developments relating to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”).
  • First, the FTC has introduced a final rule that extends the TSR’s coverage to include business-to-business telemarketing calls, previously exempted under the TSR’s original framework. The final rule also introduces a definition for “previous donor” to clarify that charity robocalls are prohibited for individuals who have not donated to the soliciting charity within the last two years. Furthermore, the final rule implements several changes to the TSR’s recordkeeping requirements, such as new obligations for maintaining call detail records and their associated safe harbor, records of consent, records showing compliance with the Do Not Call registry, and a clause allowing sellers and telemarketers to share recordkeeping responsibilities.
  • The FTC also announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that would expand the TSR’s coverage to include inbound telemarketing calls relating to technical support services. While the TSR already applies to certain categories of telemarketer calls initiated by consumers, the proposed amendment would add calls involving the sale of technical support services to that list. Specifically, the FTC claims that the new rule would enable the FTC to obtain stronger relief, including civil penalties and consumer redress, against technical support scams that use misleading advertisements to induce consumers to initiate the call.  The Commission also is seeking comments on a proposed definition of tech support scams.
  • Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted within 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.