FTC puts new telemarketing opt-out rule into effect

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Washington, D.C.—New telemarketing sales rules from the Federal Trade Commission that went into effect Monday require advertisers to include a prerecorded message offering an easy way to opt out of receiving future calls.

Once a recipient opts out, either by pressing a number or saying a particular word, the phone number must be added automatically to the seller’s do not call list and the call immediately disconnected.

In addition, until Sept. 1, 2009, sellers may continue to use prerecorded messages when calling customers with whom they have an established business relationship. After that date, sellers must receive permission prior to using such calls.

Purely informational calls, such as automated messages about airline flight changes, are not covered by the new rule, nor are automated calls from political campaigns, which are considered protected speech, according to the FTC.

—Christopher Hosford

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