Attorney General Cameron Urges FTC to Repeal Telemarketing Exemptions, Add Measures to Protect Consumers from Scams, Unwanted Calls

FRANKFORT, Ky. (August 3, 2022) – Attorney General Cameron sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the agency to repeal telemarketing exemptions and add measures to protect consumers from scams and unwanted calls. The letter to the FTC was joined by a coalition of 39 attorneys general. 

“Spam calls frustrate Kentucky consumers and may result in devastating financial losses,” said Attorney General Cameron. “That’s why we have asked the FTC to take action to protect Kentuckians, and I am thankful to my fellow attorneys general for supporting this initiative.”

In their letter, the coalition urges the FTC to require negative option sellers and telemarketers to provide cancelation options and keep records of consumer consent for “negative option offers.” These offers allow sellers to charge a customer for goods or services if they fail to reject or cancel an agreement or subscription. The coalition notes that adding these provisions will "allow consumers to continue enjoying the benefits that a subscription-based service provides while shielding them from fraud perpetuated by unscrupulous vendors.”

The Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) went into effect in 1995 to help prevent telemarketers from scamming, harassing, or threatening Kentuckians and Americans.

The attorneys general ask the FTC to amend the TSR exemption for business-to-business calls to ensure Americans who use the same cell phone for business and personal use can avoid unwanted calls. The current TSR exemption allows telemarketers to contact dual-use cell phone numbers even if they use call-blocking technology or are on the FTC’s Do Not Call registry.

In their letter, Attorney General Cameron and the other attorneys general also encouraged the FTC to repeal TSR exemptions for inbound telemarketing calls, as scammers have used the exemption to “target consumers, particularly senior citizens, into buying costly tech support and repair services that they do not need.” 

Attorney General Cameron was joined by the attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin in sending the letter to the FTC.

A copy of the letter is available here.