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Does the Telemarketing Sales Rule apply to small businesses?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2020 | Marketing Law

It may be tempting to think the Telemarketing Sales Rule is one that only apply to large businesses. Surely the feds only care about massive retail giants, right? Unfortunately this presumption is not just wrong, but it could get you and your business into serious trouble. The feds do not care if you are a large business using the latest, state of the art equipment or a small operation using an old school phone to reach customers.

What is the Telemarketing Sales Rule?

The Telemarketing Sales Rule is a federal rule that requires telemarketers to disclose specific information during a call. The government defines a telemarketer, for the purposes of this law, as anyone who makes a phone call to a customer. Telemarketing is any plan or campaign that uses telephones to induce the purchase of goods or services to make more than one interstate telephone call. Additional requirements set by this law include:

  • Prohibition of misrepresentations, both direct and implicated
  • Guidelines on when telemarketers can contact customers
  • Restriction on calling those who have requested not to receive contact

Telemarketers are also prohibited from deceptive practices. This includes the failure to be transparent in the cost, conditions to the purchase or a failure to disclose a policy that limits the ability to receive a refund, exchange or cancel an order.

Are there any exceptions?

Like all laws, there are some exceptions. Many calls to induce a charitable contribution, for example, are exempt from these regulations. Certain calls that were the result of a customer or donor’s response to an advertisement through any medium may also qualify for an exception.