Talbots and its Telemarketer to Pay $161,000 for FTC Violations

Women’s clothing retailer Talbots and its California marketing company agreed to pay penalties totaling $161,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they illegally delivered prerecorded “robocalls” that failed to give consumers proper notice of their right to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls.

According to the FTC, Talbots and its telemarketer, SmartReply, Inc., violated the prerecorded message requirements in the Telemarketing Sales Rule during seven advertising campaigns conducted in 2009, totaling over 3.4 million robocalls.  The campaigns delivered recordings that advertised special sales and offers to consumers who had bought merchandise from Talbots’ companies during the previous year.  The messages in these campaigns were drafted by SmartReply and approved by Talbots.

Talbots and SmartReply agreed to abide by the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule in the future, which includes:

  • Tell consumers how to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls from the seller before delivering the seller’s sales pitch;
  • Immediately disconnect consumers who indicate that they do not want to receive such calls; and
  • Inform consumers listening to the message that they can make a do-not-call request at any time during a call.

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