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DMA issues guidance to list industry

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New York—The Direct Marketing Association on Friday released its guidance concerning the Federal Trade Commission settlement in August with certain list managers regarding their practices.

Available at http://www.the-dma.org/cgi/disppressrelease?article=603, the document was created to help members understand how to comply with legal requirements.

At issue was the FTC’s original allegation that three list managers had violated a provision of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) that forbids the marketing of so-called advanced-fee-for-credit programs, in which a company calls potential customers to extract payment upfront in return for credit approval.

The three companies—Guidestar Direct Corp. (d/b/a Carney Direct Marketing), ListData Computer Services and NeWorld Marketing—reached a settlement, agreeing to pay a combined total of $180,000 in fines.

The DMA met with the FTC in mid-October to clarify list managers’ scope of responsibility in the wake of the settlement. The FTC said it does not expect the list industry to guarantee every ad. The agency’s current interpretation is: "Those who provide lists for telemarketing share at least some responsibility for knowing what promotion will be communicated to those lists and especially for knowing when the script or promotion on its face violates the TSR."

—Carol Krol

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