National Association of Attorneys General

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Attorneys General Call For Updates in Telemarketing Sales Rule to Protect Consumers

Washington, DCThe National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) sent comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calling on the agency to update its Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) in specific areas to protect consumers and cut down on continued telemarketer fraud and abuse.

Telemarketing and its abuses occur when consumers are engaged in phone calls with businesses in the privacy of their homes as well as on their personal cell phones. In many states, telemarketing complaints rank among the top five complaint categories received from their citizens. State attorneys general offices are on the front line in fielding consumer complaints, taking up investigations, and pursuing legal actions against those who prey on victims. Examples include the grandparent scam, Nigerian scams, romance scams and counterfeit check scams.

The NAAG comments signed by 38 state and territorial attorneys general focus on four areas and offer specific recommendations:

1. Prohibit the use of preacquired account information in telemarketing. This ensures the consumer has consented to a transaction.

2. Better address the use of negative option features in telemarketing. Negative option sellers interpret a consumer’s silence or their failure to take affirmative action as a “yes.” It is this very framework that often leads to confusion, misunderstanding, and outright deception in such plans.

3. Require sellers and telemarketers to create and maintain call records; doing so would help attorneys general with enforcement action.

4. Ban or restrict certain novel payment methods, including fraud-induced money transfers.

The attorneys general support the TSR but contend it is necessary to update it to reflect the practices at work in today’s marketplace and address the potential for consumer harm.

The NAAG comments can be found here: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php.

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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