Telemarketing Sales Rule
Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1996
Effective January 1, 1996:
- It is illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you have asked not to be called.
- Calling times are restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Telemarketers must tell you it's a sales call, the name of the seller, and what they are selling before they make their pitch. If it's a prize promotion, they must tell you that no purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win.
- It's illegal for telemarketers to misrepresent any information; any facts about their goods or services; earnings potential, profitability, risk, or liquidity of an investment; or the nature of a prize in a prize-promotion scheme.
- Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the goods and any restrictions on getting or using them; or that a sale is final or non-refundable. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase or payment is necessary to win, and any restrictions or conditions of receiving the prize.
- It's illegal for a telemarketer to withdraw money from your checking account without your express, verifiable authorization.
- Telemarketers cannot lie to get you to pay, no matter what method of payment you use.
- You do not have to pay for credit repair, recovery room, or advance-fee loan/credit services until these services have been delivered.
- It's illegal to help deceptive telemarketers if you know - or consciously avoid knowing - that they are breaking the law.
- Your state law enforcement officers now have the power to prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who operate across state lines.
Source: Federal Trade Commission Bulletin to Consumers, (202) 326-2222.