Record Keeping & The Telemarketing Sales Rule

The telemarketing sales rule requires telemarketers to retain certain information for two years or more. The 24-month period begins on the day the document is produced. This includes advertising documents, promotional materials, and customer information. When you create a series of advertisements and conduct promotions, the telemarketing sales rule states that you must retain any material that is “substantially different.” The examples they provide are:

  • Scripts 
  • The employees that are involved with the promotion
  • Each customer who your company contacted
  • Anyone who received a prize because of the promotion
  • Documents that exhibit an agreement or informed consent from the person being contacted

Although the TSR does not directly state how these documents need to be stored, i.e., digital or physical copies, it says these records should be kept “…in the same manner, format, or place as they keep such records in the ordinary course of business.” As a business owner, you can develop your own systems and processes and identify ways your employees should save and store these materials. 

It is also important to note that some telemarketing companies allow their sellers or employees to use fictitious names. Because of the Truth in Caller ID Act, it is illegal to disguise your company’s name on someone’s caller ID. For instance, callers may see the name “Animal Rescue League” or “I.R.S.” appear on their phone when it is actually a telemarketer that doesn’t work for either affiliation. 

Prizes & Dissolving Businesses

It is common for promotions to involve prizes. The TSR states you must document the name and last known address of each customer who received a prize that has more than a $25 value. Telemarketers cannot misrepresent the prize, the chances of winning, and whether the consumer is required to purchase something to be eligible. By keeping records of these promotions, you are also protecting yourself against claims made by customers stating that you violated any of these rules.  

Lastly, dissolving your telemarketing business does not eliminate your need to maintain these records. If you sell the business or there is a changer of ownership, the successor must continue to comply with the record-keeping requirements outlined by the TSR. 

Cove Law 

Cove Law understands the challenges that telemarketing companies face. We have spent the last 25 years helping them adhere to the rules and regulations required for maintaining a healthy business. If you have any additional questions regarding telemarketing compliance, contact Cove Law to schedule your free consultation.