It is estimated that residents in Western countries receive about 16 billion sales calls each year, although the number varies by state and country. In some locations, legislation to stop these calls has been proposed at local as well as national levels. In the face of all the difference, each user of the telemarketing strategy has the sole responsibility to become familiar with the laws governing the industry in a specific locale. Telemarketers are required to comply with all relevant laws imposed on their industry.
In the United States, there are several well-established federal laws that apply to telemarketing.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enacted the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), which implements the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 1994. This law is one of several designed to make the nations markets function in a competitive manner, while stopping activities that endanger a consumers chance to make an informed choice. The TSR had an amendment added in 2002, and it currently establishes a Do-Not-Call program, which mandates an abandonment rate of three percent for predictive dialers. The program also requires telemarketers to transmit Caller-ID information so people can screen these calls. There are some industries that are not covered under the TSR, however. These include federal credit unions, common carriers, banks, nonprofit organizations, and insurance firms.
The Federal Communications Commission also implemented specific laws applying to telemarketing in order to protect consumers privacy rights. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) covers in-house lists and prohibits telemarketers from calling home numbers unless it has written policies and procedures to maintain a do-not-call list of consumers who specifically ask not be called any more. The telemarketing laws of the FCC also require that calls made by predictive dialers to wireless telephone numbers be prohibited. Basically, the TCPA limits telemarketing firms from calling a residential number unless there are procedures for placing consumers who ask not to be called in the Do-Not-Call registry. The law also prohibits sending any unsolicited fax advertisements, the use of automatic dialers, or sending recorded messages.
These telemarketing laws require the FTC to create regulations that will prevent telemarketers from engaging in abusive and fraudulent practices. Under the laws, the FTC was also allowed to develop the TSR.