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FTC Extends Deadline for Submitting Public Comments on Review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule Through November 13, 2014

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the deadline for consumers to submit comments regarding the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) through November 13, 2014. On July 31, 2014, the FTC announced that it had begun a review of the TSR, as part of its systematic review of the Commission’s rules and regulations.

As detailed in the Federal Register notice announcing the rule review, the TSR has been updated regularly since 2000, leading to amendments in 2003 to create the national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry for telemarketers, as well as in 2008 and 2010, when the rule was amended to more specifically address pre-recorded telemarketing calls and debt relief services, respectively. In addition, last year, the Commission proposed amendments to the TSR to ban telemarketers from using certain payment methods often used in defrauding consumers.

The Commission’s notice requesting public comment posed an extensive list of questions on the costs, benefits and efficacy of the TSR in the marketplace, and whether the FTC should retain, modify, or rescind it. The Commission also specifically requested comment on three issues: 1) whether the pre-acquired account information provisions of the TSR should be modified in view of current credit card association rules and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, 15 U.S.C. 8401 (2010); 2) what impact, if any, the increasing use of general media to solicit inbound calls from consumers to purchase a variety of goods or services, including those involving a negative option or free trial, is having; and 3) the costs and burdens of modifying the recordkeeping requirements of the TSR to require telemarketers to retain their own call records. The regulatory review comment period was to end on October 14, 2014. 

The Commission vote approving the Federal Register notice announcing the extension of the public comment period was 5-0. (FTC File No. R411001; the staff contact is Craig Tregillus, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2970) Comments can be submitted electronically. Information about how to submit written comments can be found in the Request for Comments section of the Supplementary Information in the Federal Register notice.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.