FTC Proposes Telemarketing Sales Rule Change

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The Federal Trade Commission proposed a new amendment to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that would change the method for measuring the maximum allowable call abandonment rate from 3 percent a day per calling campaign to 3 percent per 30-day period per calling campaign.

Both the Federal Communications Commission and the FTC prohibit call abandonment at a rate of 3 percent. However, the FCC's standard measures the 3 percent rate over a 30-day period, while the FTC's current standard is to measure per day per calling campaign.

"The dual standards and resulting confusion have caused many outbound contact centers to struggle to adhere to the two conflicting federal standards," said Tim Searcy, CEO of the American Teleservices Association in Indianapolis.

"In addition, measuring the abandonment rate utilizing the FTC's current standard presents contact center management with significantly greater compliance obstacles and higher cost structures than those associated with meeting the monthly measurement standard," he said.

An outbound call is "abandoned" if a person answers the call and is not connected with a sales representative within two seconds of the person's completed greeting.

The FTC proposal is based on a provision originally filed by the Direct Marketing Association's Washington office and moved forward by the ATA.

The amendment notice, which appeared Oct. 3, seeks comment on the proposal.

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