FTC ACCELERATES DO-NOT-CALL REGISTRY
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that consumers throughout the country will be able to register their telephone numbers for the national do-not-call registry beginning in July 2003. The national registry will generally prohibit telemarketers from calling individuals that have registered their telephone numbers on the registry. Consumers may register by telephone or Internet. Registration via the Internet will be available July 1. Telephone registration will be available to consumers in states west of the Mississippi (including Minnesota and Louisiana) on the same date, while registration for consumers residing in the remainder of the country will be available a week later. Access to the registry by telemarketers is still scheduled to be available in September 2003, with enforcement beginning in October 2003.
Sellers and telemarketers subject to the national registry should have procedures in place so that as of October 2003, calls are not made to individuals who have registered their telephone numbers with the FTC.
This is an area in which sellers and telemarketers must continue to comply with state regulation, including state do-not-call registries, that are not preempted by federal laws, including the recently amended FTC Telemarketing Sales Rule. While telephone communication with customers and potential customers offers many advantages, it is also an area of significant state and federal regulation, from do-not-call lists affecting solicitation, to automated dialing and announcing devices registration and disclosure requirements, telephone contract requirements and monitoring and recording restrictions, many of which are addressed in various DLT Digests. We have found that many third party telephone service vendors are seeking to avoid licensing and registration requirements by relying on exemptions that may or may not be available to their principal or expecting their principal to obtain requisite registration or licensing, not withstanding statutory language and independent contractor clauses. This is of particular concern to depository institutions that are being expected to monitor and assure the regulatory compliance of third party service providers.
Mike Tomkies and Chuck Gall