Sky Consulting, Inc., a California "voice broadcaster" that does business under the name CallFire, recently settled FTC charges that it violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by making illegal "robocalls." Voice broadcasters like Sky Consulting use voice-over Internet services to permit clients to deliver pre-recorded messages simultaneously to a large number of recipients. According to the FTC's complaint, the CallFire service has made millions of pre-recorded phone calls selling goods and services without consumers' written consent since September 1, 2009, when such calls were prohibited under the TSR (unless a consumer had provided prior express consent). The FTC also alleges that Sky Consulting did not require its CallFire clients to demonstrate that they obtained access to the National Do Not Call Registry or otherwise excluded numbers from the registry from being called, also violating the TSR. Under the terms of the settlement, Sky Consulting must terminate its contracts with clients found to be delivering illegal pre-recorded telemarketing calls, and must review all pre-recorded messages hosted on its platform to verify that they comply with the TSR. The settlement also includes a $75,000 civil penalty.

TIP: All companies involved in telemarketing should carefully review their business practices –and those of their business partners- to ensure that the Telemarketing Sales Rule is followed. The FTC appears to be stepping up its enforcement in this area.