Telemarketing is a great way to directly reach existing and potential customers, but it is also subject to additional rules and regulations due to a history of overly aggressive selling tactics and deceptive practices. Commercial telemarketers are regulated by federal and state laws that establish curfews, do-not-call lists, and other requirements aimed at protecting consumer privacy.
Telemarketing is regulated at the federal level by two statutes: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) derives its regulatory authority from TCPA, while the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing TSR.
The following resources describe how to comply with telemarketing rules and regulations.
States can apply additional restrictions which can exceed either of the federal laws in scope. Some common state laws include do-not-call lists, curfews, and license requirements. Additional state or federal laws can apply based on what is being sold in the telephone call. Credit cards, insurance, and other products are subject to additional laws applicable to the sale of that particular type of service.
A Do Not Call Registry is a list of phone numbers from consumers who have indicated their preference to limit the telemarketing calls they receive. The national registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and several states have their own registries. Compliance is enforced by the FTC, the FCC, and state officials. It is illegal for most telemarketers to call phone numbers listed on a state or national Do Not Call registry.
Several states require telemarketers to obtain a permit or license to operate. Many of these states exempt certain calls or businesses based on what is being sold, who it is being sold to, or the fact that the business has another type of state license. Cost depends on which exemptions are applicable to your business. States generally charge a fee for this license and some require that a bond be posted. Currently, state fees range from free to $6,000 per year, and bonds range from free to $100,000.