FCC & FTC Lawyers: Compliance and Defense
The FTC & FCC enforce consumer protection laws. The two government commissions have a hand in regulating telemarketing, email & fax solicitations. They’re also supposed to safeguard consumers from “unfair and deceptive” marketing.
FCC and FTC legal compliance lawyers specialize in defending marketing firms against powerful federal regulatory agencies. Due to the complex nature of federal and state guidelines, which undergo frequent amendments, businesses under investigation should immediately seek the counsel of a qualified FCC and FTC compliance lawyer.
Even contractors who don’t own or directly work for a telemarketing firm are subject to the same FCC and FTC regulations. Collection agencies or independent contractors making sales calls to consumers on behalf of third party sellers are equally vulnerable to commission scrutiny.
The acts enforced by the federal commissions include:
FCC Statutes & Regulations
- The 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
- The 2003 National Do Not Call Registry (DMC)
The FCC oversees all U.S. telephone marketing and monitors compliance with the National DNC Registry. The majority of states have also created statewide DNC lists. DNC Registry regulations include:
- Updating company records monthly to reflect the latest data in the Do No Call Registries
- Consumers who specifically request that a company stop calling them must be added to the telemarketing firm’s company-specific DNC list
Note that telemarketers may contact DNC registrants with whom they have done business in the previous 18 months. They may also call DNC registrants who have contacted them with inquiries during the previous 3 months.
Exceptions to the National DNC Registry regulations include charitable and political organizations. While political calls are justified under First Amendment rights and thus not subject to most DNC rules, charities must keep an organizational do not call list for those contacts who request no further calls.
FTC Statutes & Regulations
- The 1995 Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) with subsequent amendments
- The 2003 National Do Not Call Registry
- The Dot Com Disclosures
The FTC has jurisdiction over the majority of U.S. commercial enterprises. FTC-specific regulations prohibit telemarketing campaigns from including the following:
- Offers of free trials followed by automatic charges
- Book/CD club offers
- Automatic customer billing
- Email or fax marketing resulting in inbound phone calls
- The use of already acquired customer account data
Other FCC and FTC rules that govern telemarketing and electronic marketing practices include:
- Predictive dialers: abandoned calls must be limited to three percent or less overall
- Automated systems must give contacts a minimum of four rings to answer before hanging up
- Telemarketers may not mask their caller IDs
Firms found to be in violation of FCC and/or FTC regulations face significant fines. Taking immediate action in retaining the services of an experienced FCC and FTC legal compliance lawyer is critical to protecting your company’s interests.