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AG Nessel Calls on the FTC to Increase Obligations on Telemarketers

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of attorneys general calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to increase obligations on telemarketers by requiring them to keep additional records about their activities so that law enforcement can hold them accountable when they break the law.

"Requiring telemarketers to keep accurate records of their activities is the only way we can ensure that they are abiding by the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR)." Nessel said. "Consumers must be protected from abusive telemarketing practices, including illegal robocalls, and these records can be the evidence needed to hold bad actors accountable for breaking the law. This update will be a needed deterrent to those who choose to violate the TSR. I am happy to stand with my fellow attorneys general in supporting the proposed comprehensive update to this important rule."

The TSR went into effect in 1995 to help prevent telemarketers from scamming, harassing, or threatening people. Over the past 25 years, the FTC has updated the Rule to address the rise in unwanted calls and scam calls, but the Rule has not been updated to account for the additional records that are now often necessary to help ensure telemarketers are playing by the rules. The old recordkeeping requirements are not enough to enable law enforcement to go after many bad actors.

The attorneys general are encouraging the FTC to adopt proposed changes to the Rule, including requiring telemarketers and sellers to maintain the following types of information: 

  • a copy of each unique, prerecorded message;
  • call detail records of telemarketing campaigns;
  • records that prove a seller has an established business relationship with a consumer; 
  • records that prove a consumer is a previous donor to a particular charitable organization; 
  • records of the service providers that a telemarketer uses to deliver outbound calls; 
  • records of a seller or charitable organization’s entity-specific Do-Not-Call registries; and 
  • records of the FTC’s Do-Not-Call registry that was used to ensure compliance with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

AG Nessel is joined in submitting the comments by the Attorneys General of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the comments letter is available here.

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