Thursday, January 22, 2009

Less Telemarketing On The Way

Responding to thousands of comments, the Federal Trade Commission recently set new limits on prerecorded telemarketing sales, barring almost all of them unless a consumer agrees - in writing - to accept them.

The ban takes effect on Sept. 1, 2009. But interim relief started Dec. 1; telemarketers now must allow you to opt out at the beginning of a call by pressing a designated telephone key or talking to a voice-activated system.

The rules are aimed at companies trying to sell something, such as credit cards or extended warranties. They won’t affect automated informational messages, such as reminders about doctors’ appointments.

Prerecorded charitable fundraising calls are also allowed—although charities must offer the opportunity to opt out of future calls. The rules do not apply to businesses regulated by other federal agencies, such as banks, or to prerecorded political messages.

The ban comes five years after the FTC implemented the National Do Not Call Registry. Today, more than 172 million phone numbers are registered.

Source: AARP.

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