Hi, I’m Laura Kim, an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.
Millions of people limit the number of telemarketing calls they get by registering their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
If you market your products or services by phone – or if someone has hired you to handle their telemarketing for them – it’s a good idea to know about the Do Not Call provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
The Do Not Call provisions apply to telemarketing calls for products or services, but not to calls from political organizations, charities, and companies conducting bona fide phone surveys.
There’s also an exemption for calls to customers with whom you have an “established business relationship.” These are customers you’ve done business with in the past 18 months, or customers who have submitted an inquiry or application to you in the past 3 months.
The FTC enforces the Telemarketing Sales Rule and compliance with the Do Not Call provisions. Although most legitimate companies comply with Do Not Call, the FTC still gets complaints about companies that don’t.
So what do you need to know to comply?
Hiring a company to handle your telemarketing doesn’t let you off the hook in terms of compliance. Your business and the company you hire both are responsible for compliance – and both could be subject to civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.
The “established business relationship” exemption expires after 18 months. If you’re calling a former customer based on an established business relationship, make sure the relationship is current.
A person may ask you not to call again. Once you get this request -- even if it’s from a former customer – you are required to honor it.
If you’re telemarketing your products or services, or paying a company to telemarket on your behalf, you are required to pay certain fees. Your payment supports the Do Not Call Registry and gives you access to it for 12 months.
How much do you pay? There’s information on how to figure out your fee at telemarketing.donotcall.gov.
That’s the big picture on compliance. For details, visit the Business Center at business.ftc.gov.