A Federal Law Telemarketers Must Understand

The two primary laws that regulate telemarketing sales (on a federal level) are the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Although we will elaborate further on the TCPA at a later date, we wanted to outline what the TSR is, what its key provisions are, and what kinds of disclosures it requires telemarketers to make. 

Telemarketing Sales Rule

Among other things, the TSR established the federal Do Not Call Registry. Although there are several key provisions included within the Telemarketing Sales Rule, one limits the times that telemarketers can contact consumers. The Do Not Call Registry is an extension of that as it enables consumers to ask not to be called again altogether — and it’s a request that telemarketers are required to honor. Other key provisions include:

  • Disclosure requirements 
  • Calling restrictions 
  • Record-keeping requirements
  • Payment restrictions on the sale of specific products or services


Regarding disclosures, the FTC’s requirements pertain to any outbound or inbound calls that the telemarketer makes or receives. For example, the FTC requires telemarketing companies to disclose any “material information” to the consumer. This includes any relevant information that would impact a consumer’s decision to purchase the product or service or to decline it. 

This is meant to prevent deceptive marketing tactics and allow the consumer to make an informed decision based on facts. Furthermore, the FTC also has standards for how the information gets presented. For example, telemarketers are required to convey such information clearly and conspicuously. Conspicuous means “clearly visible.” In other words, telemarketers cannot hide the information by intentionally changing the font, color, or location of something in order to deliberately make it more difficult to see. 


These requirements pertain to any information that is being communicated through writing or orally. For example, was the telemarketer using language that the consumer understood, and were they able to hear what was said? 


Cove Law

Since 1995, Cove Law has been assisting clients with telemarketing compliance and regulatory defense. If you have been accused of violating the TSR because of deceptive or unfair trade practices, contact Cove Law to schedule a consultation. Tell us about the legal challenges you face as a telemarketing company, so we can outline what we can do to help.

Andrew Cove
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