The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently made rule amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). Those rule amendments took effect September 1, 2009. You can find a copy of the ruling here.
A summary of the rule amendments reads as follows:
“The Commission adopts two final amendments to the TSR. The first is an amendment making explicit a prohibition in the TSR on telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages without a consumer’s express written agreement to receive such calls. This amendment also requires that all prerecorded telemarketing calls provide specified opt-out mechanisms so that consumers can opt out of future calls. The amendment is necessary because the reasonable consumer would consider prerecorded telemarketing messages to be coercive or abusive of such consumer’s right to privacy.
“The second amendment modifies the method for measuring the maximum call abandonment rate prescribed by the TSR’s call abandonment safe harbor. The new method will permit sellers and telemarketers to calculate call abandonment rates for a live calling campaign over a thirty-day period, or any part thereof. This amendment is necessary because the current “per day” standard effectively precludes the use of predictive dialers with small calling lists.”
So having read a summary of the rule amendments and the ruling itself, it is clear to me that users of mlm lead generation and robocall voice broadcasting services like ibuzzpro and Phone Broadcast Club are at risk. And so too are those businesses. But don’t take my word for it. Consult an attorney yourself and get legal advice.
I had a user write in today with the following concerning voice broadcasts:
“Your lead services really look good but I have a
question about the new FTC law that went into
effect on September 1st and if it effects your
services. There is alot of confusion about this
new law, there are many people that state that
the Phone Broadcast Club and ibuzzpro are now
operating illegally and putting their members in
a position of having law suits filed against them
if someone complains, up to a $16,000 fine I have
“This new law is so misunderstood and the rumors
as far as what is permissible and what is not are
completely unclear. I have even heard that now
even though when a person opts in to a lead
companies capture page to receive more info about
a home business opportunity that might now be
illegal for the person who purchases that lead
from the lead company to contact that lead under
this new law by phone or to leave them a recorded
message if they get their voicemail.
“Can you please help straighten the confusion out
about this new law, it’s not just me everyone
really has no idea whether or not it is even
legal to call leads from any lead company now no
matter how those leads were generated, so if you
get a person from a lead list that threatens to
report you or take legal action against you for
calling them what can you do. This new law sounds
like a major problem not just for the phone
broadcast service providers but for reputable
lead vendors as well.
I sent Jeff a reply that included a link to the ruling. Jeff replied with this follow-up:
“..Can you tell me if this new FTC law effects the leads that you sell, example, if I call someone on a list that I would purchase from you can they take some kind of action against me for calling them to give them more information about a home business opportunity, also if I can not reach them live and get their voicemail can they take some kind of action against me for leaving a message for them on their voicemail?
“I read the ruling link you sent me but it seems alot of that is still unclear and open to interpretation, I was just wondering if this new law also effects lead companies like yours in addition to the voice broadcasting industry.”
My response to Jeff is that the TSR ruling amendments prohibit telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages without a consumer’s express written agreement to receive such calls. That said, my opinion is that the TSR ruling changes do not affect your ability to pick up the phone yourself and dial the prospect… That you still can do since you are NOT delivering prerecorded messages to the consumer.
So while this ruling has gone into effect, then why is it that we continue to get prerecorded messages without having given consent to those messages?
On September 2, 2009, a lady named “Barbara” called me with her automated message using one of these robocall services. I phoned her back and left her a personal messaging saying that her practice was made illegal by the FTC ruling change. Barbara called me back saying that she was “exempt” from the ruling… that since I had a website with my name and number on the site, that I was NOT A CONSUMER. Instead I was a “business” and that the ruling only addressed consumers.
Barbara… you’re walking on thin ice.
If you read the summary listed above it reads in part:
“The amendment is necessary because the reasonable consumer would consider prerecorded telemarketing messages to be coercive or abusive of such consumer’s right to privacy.”
Barbara’s contention is that since I have a business website, I then am not a “consumer”.
I make the legal claim that since I could potentially “consume” her service, I am therefore a consumer.
Moreover, it’s the final part of the statement above… “consumer’s right to privacy”.
I believe that the “spirit” of the ruling is that people complained about getting robocalls all the time. These people live in homes.. they work in offices and they get the calls both places. They wanted the robocalls to stop. They complained to the FTC. The FTC made the ruling change.
If I were a marketer that was using or was considering the use of mlm lead generation and robocall voice broadcasting services like ibuzzpro and Phone Broadcast Club, I would consult an attorney first before using any such service.
Instead, I’d pick up the phone and personally dial the leads. Ultimately the person is going to join my business because of me. So I better get used to the idea and start working on my skill sets.
The better I get, the more people will join me.
This described Ibuzzpro, Phone Broadcast Club and like robocall mlm leads voice broadcasting and mlm lead generation services becoming illegal Sept 1 by FTC ruling.
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