The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent lawsuit against a telemarketing services company and two of its officers, directors, or owners demonstrates that enforcement of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) remains an FTC priority.

In The United States of America v. Sonkei Communications, Inc., the FTC alleges that the defendants violated the TSR by providing “substantial assistance or support” to telemarketers who they knew or consciously avoided knowing were violating the TSR. According to the FTC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on November 17, 2011, the defendants provided such assistance or support through their sale of telemarketing services that included voice broadcasting services.

The telemarketers were using the defendants’ services to violate the TSR, the complaint alleges, by transmitting inaccurate caller names on caller-identification displays; calling phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry; and making prerecorded calls to persons who had not expressly agreed in writing to receive such calls. It further alleges that the defendants were aware or consciously avoided knowing that such violations were taking place.

The relief sought by the FTC includes civil monetary penalties of up to $11,000 for each TSR violation committed on or before February 9, 2009, and, as adjusted for inflation, up to $16,000 for each TSR violation committed after February 9, 2009.

The FTC’s decision to direct its TSR enforcement efforts against a seller of “backroom” telemarketing servicers reinforces the need for persons subject to the TSR to consult with experienced counsel to make sure they are complying with the TSR. Ballard Spahr attorneys can review internal rules and provide guidance in conducting periodic audits to ensure the TSR is being followed.

Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Financial Services Group produces the CFPB Monitor , a blog that focuses exclusively on important Consumer Financial Protection Bureau developments. To subscribe, use the link provided to the right. The group is nationally recognized for its guidance in structuring and documenting new consumer financial services products, its experience with the full range of federal and state consumer credit laws throughout the country, and its skill in litigation defense and avoidance (including pioneering work in pre-dispute arbitration programs).

 

 

 

For more information, please contact Practice Leader Alan S. Kaplinsky , 215.864.8544 or kaplinsky@ballardspahr.com; Practice Leader Jeremy T. Rosenblum , 215.864.8505 or rosenblum@ballardspahr.com; John L. Culhane, Jr., 215.864.8535 or culhane@ballardspahr.com; Barbara S. Mishkin, 215.864.8528 or mishkinb@ballardspahr.com; or Mark J. Furletti, 215.864.8138 or furlettim@ballardspahr.com.


 

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