7 Legal Mistakes for Telemarketers to Avoid

The telemarketing industry is full of rules and regulations. Both your state and the federal government have laws regarding your conduct and what it takes for you to legally operate. If you are just opening your telemarketing business in Florida – or selling TO Florida, read below for our top seven legal mistakes for telemarketers to avoid.

  1. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In Florida, as in most other states, it is essential for you to register for and have a license. In Florida, that requires a filing with the Florida Division of Consumer Services before you start making phone calls. To call people when you do not have a business license is illegal, and in Florida, it’s not only a civil violation but a criminal one as well!

  1. Follow the basic rules.

There are a set of standards and rules that Florida telemarketers must follow.

  • Calls can only be made between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Within 30 seconds of the beginning of the call, the telemarketer must state his or her true name, the company he or she is representing, and the nature of the call. If the telemarketer is calling on behalf of a non-profit, he or she must also indicate whether there will be a donation request in the conversation.
  • Be completely honest. It’s illegal for you to misrepresent yourself, your company, or the purpose of your call. This means that you should not exaggerate, omit, or fabricate information.
  • If you are selling something, you must tell your customer about their right to cancel. Also, if the customer hasn’t signed anything, there is no contract that binds them to a purchase. This leaves them free to cancel at any time.
  1. Do not call people listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

This sounds easy enough, but without a deliberate compliance policy, violations are inevitable. Always make sure that the individual you are about to call is not listed on the National Do Not Call list. In addition, Florida has its own Do Not Call Registry which must also be complied with.

  1. End the phone call when the person you’ve contacted requests it.

If you’re in the middle of your introduction and the person you’re speaking with requests that you end the phone call, you must promptly honor that request and hang up. To try to continue the conversation is illegal.

  1. Don’t block Caller ID.

It’s illegal for you to try to block Caller ID from displaying your business name or phone number. This includes any devices or software that might perform a Caller ID function.

  1. Keep records.

It is imperative that you keep scripts and promotional materials for a minimum of two years.

  1. Hire a good business lawyer before you begin.

Plan ahead. Failing to plan means planning to fail. Even if you don’t intend to do so, it’s easy to violate the law accidentally. Having counsel before you start may prevent problems later on. And if you do make an error after you start doing business, you’ll want to have a qualified lawyer ready to help you.

No matter where you are in the United States, the attorneys at Cove Law can help you. Cove Law has over twenty years of experience specifically involving the telemarketing industry. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us or give us a call at (954) 921-1121.

Written by Andrew Cove

Cove Law has significant experience defending federal investigations and formal actions by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Finance Protection Board and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as similar matters on the state level by the respective state Attorney General’s Offices and other local agencies.