In a Press Release dated June 27, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that certain amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) have taken effect. Your BBB® would like to let readers know about the new amendments which prohibit payment methods “exploited by con artists and scammers.”
According to the Press Release, the FTC blog, and the FTC as of June 13, 2016, it is now illegal for telemarketers to ask consumers to pay for goods or services using the following four types of non-conventional payment methods:
- cash-to-cash money transfers such as MoneyGram and Western Union provide
- PIN numbers from cash reload cards such as MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload or Reloadit packs
- using remotely created checks (RCCs)
- using remotely created payment orders (RCPOs).
The FTC finalized the amendments late last year, and in the Press Release announcing the finalization, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said “Con artists like payments that are tough to trace and hard for people to reverse. The FTC’s new telemarketing rules ban payment methods that scammers like, but honest telemarketers don’t use.” New FTC guidance regarding the amendments warns consumers that if a telemarketer requests payment using any of the above-mentioned methods, it is a scam because those payment methods are now illegal.
According to the FTC’s article entitled “The Telemarketing Sales Rule,” the new amendments also
Restrict unauthorized billing. Telemarketers must get your express informed consent to be charged and to charge to a specific account.
Reduce abandoned calls. Telemarketers are required to connect their call to a sales representative within two seconds of the consumer’s greeting. In addition, when the telemarketer doesn’t have a representative standing by, a recorded message must play to let you know who’s calling and the number they’re calling from. The law prohibits a recorded sales pitch in a cold call. And to give you time to answer the phone, the telemarketer may not hang up on an unanswered call before 15 seconds or four rings.
Require caller ID transmission. Telemarketers must transmit their telephone number and if possible, their name, to your caller ID service.
Rein in Robocalling. Most businesses need your written permission before they can call you with prerecorded telemarketing messages, or robocalls. However, some prerecorded messages still are permitted under these rules.
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