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FTC Grants DMA Petition
WASHINGTON, December 19, 2006 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is pleased that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has responded favorably to its petition seeking to delay new enforcement policies for call abandonment under the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).
In a notice that soon will be published in the Federal Register, the FTC on Monday announced it had granted four petitions seeking an extension of the Commission’s current policy of forbearing enforcement of the call abandonment provisions of the TSR against telemarketers using prerecorded messages.
In October 2006, the FTC denied an industry petition to add a proposed new safe harbor to the call abandonment provisions of the TSR that would have permitted telemarketers to deliver prerecorded messages to consumers with whom the seller has an established business relationship (EBR). The Commission also offered a proposal to amend the TSR to prohibit the use of prerecorded messages without the express written consent of the consumer.
In that same October notice, the FTC announced that effective January 2, 2007, it would reverse its longstanding policy of not bringing enforcement actions against companies that use prerecorded messages in accordance with the previously proposed safe harbor provisions.
In response to this last provision, DMA and others petitioned the FTC to delay changing the enforcement policy until after a final determination has been made on the proposed rule.
Yesterday, the Commission granted that request, and will not enforce TSR call abandonment provisions until the new rulemaking has been completed.
“This is good news for the many marketers – especially small businesses – that rely on prerecorded messages for communication with customers,” said Jerry Cerasale, DMA’s senior vice president for government affairs. “As we work to preserve the ability of marketers to contact customers with whom they have an existing business relationship, yesterday’s FTC announcement means that customers can continue to conduct ongoing campaigns without fear of punishment until the issue is resolved.”
The notice that the FTC approved on December 18 reiterates the requirements of the safe harbor program, and emphasizes that the forbearance policy applies only to prerecorded telemarketing calls that comply completely with the safe harbor requirements. The complete text of yesterday’s notice is available online at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2006/12/FRN_TSRR411001.pdf.
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The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates industry standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today represents more than 3,600 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the US and 50 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as nonprofit organizations.
In 2006, marketers – commercial and nonprofit – will spend an estimated $166.5 billion on direct marketing in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures will generate an estimated $1.93 trillion in incremental sales. This year, direct marketing will account for 10.3 percent of total US GDP. Also, there are today 1.7 million direct marketing employees in the US alone. Their collective sales efforts directly support 8.8 million other jobs. That accounts for 10.5 million US jobs.
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.