This site is designed to inform telemarketers and call centers about national and state telemarketing compliance.
TCPA class action lawsuits are on the rise! Learn the law and how to defend a TCPA lawsuit. The federal government and each state has its own telemarketing rules and telemarketing regulations. Some states require call centers to first obtain a telemarketing licenseor telemarketing bonds. If a telemarketer or call center is not compliant with all the rules and regulations they may incur hefty telemarketing fines. This site is designed to be a guide and is not to be substituted for legal advice. Always speak with an experienced telemarketing lawyer before making important telemarketing compliance decisions.
No national/federal telemarketing license is required. However, most telemarketers are required to purchase a SAN (subscription account number) to access the national DNC list. Learn about telemarketing licenses.
Federal law limits calling from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the recipient's local time zone.
Governed by FTC and FCC regulations. Many states incorporate the federal Do Not Call law lists into their own local telemarketing laws. Telemarketing calls to numbers on the federal DNC are prohibited unless you qualify for an exemption such as prior consent or established business relationship. More DNC laws and exemptions.
Initial disclosures: (1) name of caller and business; (2) that purpose of call is to sell; (3) nature of goods/services offered; (4) real telephone number or address. Before taking payment: (5) total cost and quantity; (6) material (important) restrictions/conditions; (7) refund/cancel rights, or lack thereof. Additional disclosures exist for special offers such as prize promotions. More telemarketer scripting rules.
TCPA class actions have been on the rise since about 2013. A TCPA class action is a lawsuit where one consumer seeks to represent himself as well as all other alleged victims of the call campaign. Learn free tips on defending a TCPA class action lawsuit and FCC TCPA regulations. Click here to learn about new FCC rules.
TELEMARKETING COMPLIANCE: Becoming compliant with state and federal telemarketing laws can seem complicated and overwhelming. Being 100% compliant is the best way to avoid telemarketing fines. It is recommended that you consult your telemarketing attorney before starting a telemarketing campaign to ensure you are fully compliant with federal and state telemarketing regulations. A telemarketing attorney can perform a valuable telemarketing compliance audit, in addition to a number of other services. To start your road to compliance, click here.
Approximately 32 states require telemarketers to obtain a telemarketing license before calling into (or from) those states. Telemarketing license requirements vary by state. States such as Florida and Alabama require individual phone agents to obtain individual licensing as well. The forms and fees for these telemarketing registrations also vary by state.
In order to obtain a state's telemarketing license, call centers must go through a registration process and obtain approval. In some cases, an application fee and surety telemarketing bond (see bonds below) must be submitted. These telemarketing license requirements are separate from state DNC lists and state autodialer permits. State telemarketing licenses are also separate from the federal do-not-call law list.
A telemarketing bond is a surety bond which some states require call centers to obtain before they can legally call into those particular states. Normally, the bond is just one part of a state's telemarketing license process. A surety bond is similar to an insurance policy, but is also more complex. The bond acts like an insurance policy with the beneficiary of that policy being the consumers of that particular state. In the event of a violation, a claim may be filed against the bond. If the bonding company confirms the violations, the bonding company will pay out the bond money in order to refund the state's consumers who were harmed by the telemarketer's conduct. So long as the call center does not violate the law, the insurance company which issued the bond will only charge an annual premium to keep the bond in place.
Telemarketing fines are penalties for violating federal or state telemarketing laws. Most states often have telemarketing laws that vary from other states. The best way to avoid fines is to ensure your call center is fully compliant with each state you call into and out of.
Telemarketing Compliance Tips
Many states require telephone solicitors to disclose certain information at the beginning of each call they make to a potential consumer. For example, the State of Ohio requires that within the first 60 seconds telephone solicitors must state the solicitor's or salesperson's true name and the company on whose behalf the solicitation is being made; state that the purpose of the telephone call is to effect a sale; and identify the goods or services being sold. Federal/national telemarketing disclosures are listed here.
Virtually every state prohibits false or misleading statements from being made during a telephone solicitation. Many states also prohibit certain specific statements. For example, some states prohibit rebuttal statements after the consumer indicates that they are not interested. Other states require you to obtain the consumer's permission before presenting the sales message. Prohibited statements vary from state to state. Be sure to know what you can legally say when on the phone with the residents and businesses of the state you are calling.
Many states require telemarketers to provide their consumers with specific cancellation rights. These states also will often require telemarketers to clearly disclose this information to their consumers. For example, Utah telemarketing law requires telemarketers to orally inform purchasers that they have a mandatory right to cancel the purchase up to midnight on the 3rd business day following the transaction.
Another example: Ohio telemarketing law requires telemarketers to provide purchasers with two copies of the following statement:"NOTICE OF CANCELLATION RIGHTS Because you agreed to buy these goods (or services or other appropriate description) as a result of a telephone solicitation, Ohio law gives you seven (7) days to cancel your purchase. If you cancel we must provide you a full refund within thirty (30) days. If you want to cancel, you must sign your name below and return a copy of this notice, together with any goods you have received, so they are postmarked no later than midnight of the seventh day following the date you received the goods or agreed to the services, or the seventh day following the date you received this notice, whichever is later."
DNC or do-not-call law lists are residents that are legally protected from receiving calls from telemarketers. There is a national DNC law list, and some states may even have their own DNC list. Telemarketers should perform their own complaint DNC scrubbing, or should hire an expert third-party DNC scrub vendor to perform the scrubbing for them.
Attorney General Letters & Investigations
When a state attorney general's office receives one or more complaints about a telemarketer, they will often initiate an investigation of the telemarketing entity. Always consult with a telemarketing compliance lawyer when you receive an attorney general letter. Responding to an AG investigation can be complex, especially if there has been a possible violation.
Telemarketing curfews limit the permissible calling window during with the call center may call consumers. Federal telemarketing law prohibits calls outside the hours of 8am and 9pm (the recipient's local time). Some states have even more restrictive rules limiting to certain days of the week, and in some cases include state recognized holidays. Be certain your call center is compliant with all curfew and other telemarketing rules to avoid telemarketing fines and legal action against your business.
Both the federal and many state governments have enacted strict autodialer laws and robocall laws. In particular, many of these rules prohibit the use of autodialers to call cell phones. Under the new FCC rules passed on October 16, 2013, telemarketers may not use an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) to call a cell phone without prior express consent.
What is an automatic telephone dialing system? (What is an ATDS?) An automatic telephone dialing system or "ATDS" is a device or software which has the capacity to dial without human intervention. For example, all predictive dialers are ATDS. If your dialing system or CRM has the capacity to dial without human intervention in each individual call, then it is an autodialer/ATDS.
Telemarketing registrations are required by approximately 32 states in the US. The federal government and 12 states also require telemarketers to register to obtain a Do Not Call list. Call centers must obtain telemarketing licenses and telemarketing bonds in the states they call into or from, unless they have a telemarketing exemption.
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Some content on this page was made before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ March 2018 Decision, which can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2HHTfND
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