Telemarketing Software Featured Article

ATA Voices Support for Amendments to Telemarketing Sales Rule

August 19, 2008
By Susan J. Campbell - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced two amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR (News - Alert)). The amendments will have a significant impact on the telemarketing industry as it will bar telemarketing calls that deliver prerecorded messages unless specific conditions are met.

The most important condition chiefly states that the consumer must have previously agreed to accept such calls from the seller. This change to the TSR modifies the acceptable method for calculating the maximum permissible level of “call abandonment.”
“We are pleased about the FTC’s (News - Alert) decision to measure abandonment rate on a 30-day basis similar to the FCC,” stated ATA CEO Tim Searcy, in a Tuesday statement.
“Although previous petitions stalled, subsequent comments and efforts by the ATA, in collaboration with the FTC, created a new opportunity to address the abandonment rate issue.”

An outbound call is considered abandoned if a person answers it and is not connected with a sales representative within two seconds of the person’s completed greeting.
The FCC (News - Alert) and the FTC both prohibit abandonment at a rate of 3 percent. The challenge in the industry was that until today, both organizations differed on how they measured the 3 percent. Starting on October 1, 2008, both the FCC and FTC’s standard measures the 3 percent rate over a 30-day period.
“Measuring the abandonment rate utilizing a 3 percent rate over a 30-day period will lower cost structures and significantly lessen compliance obstacles for contact center management,” said Searcy.
“This decision by the FTC demonstrates that the FTC and ATA maintain the ability and desire to work together to balance the legitimate interests of business and consumers.”

These amendments to the TSR will eliminate the gap between the FTC’s and the FCC’s standard measure for the 3 percent abandonment rate. By aligning the standard, companies will have a clear expectation of what is expected of them. In doing so, they can eliminate fines and other reprimands from regulating agencies. 

The American Teleservices Association (ATA) is known as the only non-profit trade organization that is dedicated exclusively to the advancement of companies that utlitize contact centers as an integral channel of operations.

Members of the ATA include companies with inbound or outbound contact centers, users of Teleservices, trainers, consultants, and equipment suppliers who initiate, facilitate, and generate telephone, Internet, and e-mail sales, service, and support.
ATA provides its members benefits through its strong advocacy at the national and state level; advanced and timely educational opportunities and business-building events.
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.