FTC Enforcement Action Reinforces That Consumers Need Not Utter Any "Magic Words" in Requesting to Be Placed on Telemarketers' Internal Do-Not-Call Lists

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Also Reinforces That Telemarketing Sales Rule’s Caller ID Flexibility Only Goes So Far

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a $500,000 settlement of a telemarketing enforcement action that it brought based on allegations that the telemarketer interfered with the right of consumers to be placed on companies’ internal do-not-call lists, and that it altered outgoing caller ID to inaccurately display the identity of the calling party. The enforcement action is a reminder that telemarketing customer service reps must be trained to be particularly sensitive to understanding – and effectuating – consumer requests to be added to a company’s do-not-call list, even if they don’t request it in such specific terms.

The settlement resolves a complaint the FTC filed in the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging that Americall, a telemarketer specializing in calls on behalf of banks, credit card issuers, insurance companies, and other financial institutions, violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The FTC alleged Americall “trains [its] representatives to interfere with entity-specific do-not-call requests” by instructing in training manuals that, absent other, more specific requests, consumer statements like “Don’t call me again,” “Don’t call me back,” or “I do not accept solicitation calls,” should not result in a consumer’s placement on the internal do-not-call list of the entity on whose behalf the agent has called.

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