The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) launched a periodic review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), for its effectiveness, costs, and benefits.6 The Rule was previously amended in 2003, 2008, and 2010.

The Request for Comments solicits input on 38 questions (many of which contain multiple subparts), including whether there is a continuing need for all parts of the Rule or whether technology had affected the Rule. The FTC seeks comment on specific questions regarding the TSR’s recordkeeping requirements, the use of pre-acquired account information, and how negative option marketing transactions are treated. Other specific questions touch on self-regulatory efforts and the specific exemptions to the TSR, but all comments related to the Rule are welcome.

The original TSR was promulgated in 1995. The later amendments established the National Do Not Call Registry and addressed debt relief offers and prerecorded messages. The TSR applies generally to “telemarketing,” which includes any “plan, program, or campaign which is conducted to induce the purchase of goods or services or a charitable contribution….”7 The Rule covers many different aspects of placing calls, billing for transactions conducted as a result of telemarketing, and using pre-acquired account information in connection with telemarketing transactions.

Note that the Request for Comment does not propose specific changes to the Rule at this time, although the comments could be used to help the FTC shape a future rulemaking proposal. Comments are due by October 14, 2014.