Telemarketing: Questions and Answers

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How does a person sign up for the Kentucky "No Call" list for telemarketers?

Either connect to the Attorney General's website OR
Call the Attorney General toll free at 1-866-592-2550.

What laws protect consumers from telemarketers and scams?

Federal laws in this area are:

  • The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which limits the hours telemarketers can call, and the use of automatic dialing and fax machines;
  • The Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1991, which regulates the use and abuse of 900 numbers;
  • The Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 1994, which prohibits certain deceptive and abusive practices.

Kentucky's law in this area is the Telephone Solicitations Law.

What does Kentucky law require of telemarketers?

Every telephone marketer must:

  • Register with the attorney general;
  • Not call at night (after 9 p.m. or before 10 a.m.);
  • Not use automatic calling equipment without consent of the party called;
  • Identify himself or herself immediately at outset of call;
  • Within 30 seconds, ask the person called if they want to hear a sales pitch; and hang up immediately if the answer is no.

What if a person enters a contract over the phone and then changes their mind?

Telemarketers must:

  • Allow a consumer to cancel the oral contract by returning the goods within 14 days. (The 14-day period begins on the earlier of the goods being delivered, or the consumer getting the notice telling about their right to cancel.)
  • Provide a refund within 30 days of the consumer's cancellation of a contract;
  • Not ask for or accept payment from the consumer or their account until they receive a signed contract, or until the consumer's 14 day cancellation period has expired.

What are telemarketers calling Kentucky not allowed to do?

No telemarketer may:

  1. Pretend that they are endorsed by the government just because they have registered.
  2. Ask for a fee in advance to improve a person's credit history or credit record.
  3. Ask for or take payment in advance from someone for recovering or helping to recover money or any other item lost by the consumer in a prior telephone sale or transaction.
  4. Ask for or take payment of any charge in advance for obtaining a loan or credit for a person after guaranteeing or predicting a good chance of being able to get the loan or credit for the person.
  5. Take or submit for payment a person's check without the consumer's express written consent, or charging their credit account or transferring funds electronically without express consent.
  6. Hire a delivery or pickup service to pick up the consumer's payment without giving the consumer a chance to inspect the goods before collection.
  7. Help or support any telemarketer when the telemarketing company knows or should know that the telemarketer is engaging in an act not allowed by the Kentucky law.
  8. Make or try to make a telephone sale to anyone under eighteen (18) years of age. A telemarketer must ask whether the person on the other end is eighteen (18) years of age or older. (They are allowed to rely upon the answer given.)
  9. Try to block or disarm a caller identification service when making a marketing call.
  10. Tell or allow employees to use a false name or no name when making a telephone solicitation.
  11. Threaten, scare, or use profane or obscene language.
  12. Cause the telephone to ring more than thirty (30) seconds in trying to make a call.
  13. Bother any person constantly in a way most reasonable people would regard as annoying, abusive, or harassing.
  14. Call someone who has previously stated they do not want to receive calls from that seller.
  15. Call anyone whose number is on the Kentucky Attorney General's no-call list.
  16. Call a person's residence any time between 9 p.m. and 10 a.m.
  17. Sell or trade in information revealed during a telephone solicitation without getting the express written consent of the consumer.
  18. Use an automatic or prerecorded voice to deliver a message, without the prior express consent of the called party. (This rule does not apply to a school making an emergency call.)
  19. Use any unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive action during a telephone solicitation.

What can a person do if they are the victim of a telemarketing scam?

They can sue the telemarketing company for damages. They can cancel any contract made without penalty. And they can ask for a criminal prosecution, since violation of the telemarketing laws is a misdemeanor or in some cases a felony.

Reviewed August 2009