State AGs Urge FTC to Adopt Stricter Requirements for Telemarketers

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make telemarketers keep additional records about their activities for purposes of enforcing anti-harassment laws, and in particular the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). 

Tuesday’s letter, signed by 43 state attorneys general and led by those of North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, responded to the FTC’s solicitation for comment on proposed changes to the TSR. The submission pressed the agency to adopt proposed measures, including requiring telemarketers and sellers to keep the following:

  • A copy of each unique pre-recorded 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.
  • Records of the FTC’s Do-Not-Call registry that were used to ensure compliance with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

According to the attorneys general, “[t]he old recordkeeping requirements are not enough to enable law enforcement to go after many bad actors.”  

By way of example, the letter urges “amending the TSR to require any telemarketer/seller who transfers or receives a transferred call to retain records of which calls were transferred and the phone number or IP address and company name of the party that received or initiated the transfer.” The attorneys general contend that the measure will help law enforcement connect illegal lead-generation robocalls to the companies that profit from them.

The letter adds that “[s]uch a requirement would better protect consumers, including seniors and other vulnerable populations, from unscrupulous telemarketers/sellers who could manipulate their records to reflect that the consumer assented to the offer.”

The same day, a coalition of 50 attorneys general said they plan to crack down on rampant robocalling through the formation of a nationwide, bipartisan Anti-Robocall Litigation Taskforce, according to the New York Attorney General’s press release. The taskforce will investigate and take legal action against telecommunications companies responsible for enabling foreign robocalls, a previously cited issue, and will work to cut down the overall amount of robocalls bombarding Americans.