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Category Archives: Direct Marketing

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FCC Confirms Solicited Fax Ads Must Include an Opt-Out

Posted in Direct Marketing, TCPA

Last Thursday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order confirming that companies must include opt-out instructions on all fax ads, even for recipients who previously agreed to receive a fax from the company. The order clarifies that solicited fax ads, like unsolicited ads, must also comply with the rules set forth in the FCC’s… Continue Reading

On the Horizon: FCC’s New Telemarketing Rules

Posted in Direct Marketing, TCPA

On October 16, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) new rule implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) will go into effect.  These are rules with teeth, as the TCPA allows recovery of anywhere between $500 and $1,500 for each improper communication and does not require a showing of actual injury.  This makes the TCPA a… Continue Reading

Take Two of These, and I will Text you in the Morning (Because It’s Permitted Under the TCPA)

Posted in Direct Marketing

In its Memorandum Opinion and Order dated November 9, 2012, the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Pinkard v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. held that under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), when an individual discloses his or her cellular phone number to a business, that individual is deemed to have expressly consented… Continue Reading

FCC Approves New Rules Curbing “Robocalls”

Posted in Direct Marketing

In a move that will no doubt please many consumers, on February 15, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission approved a new set of rules aimed to substantially curb the practice of telemarketers to engage in "robocalling", or the placing of automatic, pre-recorded calls. The key development in the FCC’s 48 page Report and Order is… Continue Reading

Emerging Electronic Receipt Option Requires Creative Thinking for Retailers under State Law

Posted in Direct Marketing

Recently, several large retail chains have started offering customers the option to receive electronic receipts for in-store purchasers, as the New York Times reports. For instance, a cashier may ask a customer for his or her email address at check-out and then email the receipt to the customer. Paperless receipt programs offer retailers new and exciting marketing opportunities–for instance, adding a retail store purchaser’s email address to the company’s customer relationship management database, even if that customer never shops online. But with these new opportunities come potential liabilities from old laws that were not written with this new technology in mind.

Robocalling. Easy. Doing it right? Maybe not so much . . .

Posted in Direct Marketing

On April 27, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission announced separate settlements with women’s clothing retailer Talbots and its telemarketer SmartReply, Inc. for violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”). The FTC alleged that SmartReply’s robocalls for Talbots did not allow consumers to opt out of future calls until they had listened to almost all of the prerecorded solicitation or failed to provide opt out instructions; did not immediately disconnect consumers that chose to opt out; and failed to notify live call recipients of their right to opt out at any time during the call.

Florida Supreme Court Holds CGL Policy Covers an “Advertising Injury” Based Upon a TCPA Violation

Posted in Direct Marketing, Invasion of Privacy

The Florida Supreme Court recently held that a commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance policy that provides coverage for an “advertising injury” covers a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The definition of “advertising injury” in the CGL policy at issue provided coverage for an “injury arising out of” the “[o]ral or written publication of material that violates a person’s right of privacy.” In finding that coverage existed, the court noted that the TCPA protects the privacy right to seclusion.

District Court Rules TCPA Applies to Text Messages Even Though Recipient Not Charged to Receive the Message

Posted in Direct Marketing, Electronic Communications

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently ruled that a plaintiff may maintain a suit for receiving an unsolicited text message under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, even though the plaintiff was not actually charged for receiving the message. In the ruling, the court noted that in enacting the TCPA, Congress was concerned with consumers’ privacy rights and the nuisances of telemarketing.

Update: Maine’s Marketing to Minors Law Found Likely to Be Unconstitutional

Posted in Direct Marketing

The first lawsuit challenging Maine’s Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors has concluded.  The District of Maine issued a Stipulated Order of Dismissal on September 9, stating that there is a likelihood that the statute is "overbroad and violates the First Amendment", and putting third parties "on notice" that a private suit "could… Continue Reading

Maine Makes Marketing Minors “Predatory”

Posted in Direct Marketing

In mid-September, Maine’s “Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices against Minors” is scheduled to take effect.  Due to the lack of a scienter element in several of the requirements of this new law, this Act could have far-reaching consequences for all businesses that engage in direct marketing or that sell or transfer personal information to… Continue Reading

One Reputable Retailer Takes a $7M Hit On Text Messages

Posted in Direct Marketing

On September 10, 2008, Timberland Company, an outdoor clothing and shoe merchant, along with co-defendant ad agencies GSI Commerce Inc. (“GSI”) and AirIt2Me Inc. (“AirIt2Me”), settled charges brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) arising from unsolicited text messages advertising Timberland’s holiday sale.  Pursuant to the settlement, Timberland must employ best practices in future… Continue Reading

Telemarketers Beware: New FTC Restrictions on Prerecorded Calls Take Effect Soon

Posted in Direct Marketing

Effective September 1, 2009, companies subject to FTC jurisdiction will not be able to make interstate prerecorded telemarketing calls to EBR consumers absent the prior express written agreement of the consumer. Effective December 1, 2008, any company that continues to make such calls must comply with new restrictions that will continue even after September 1, 2009 when prior express written consent of the consumer is mandatory.

California’s Financial Information Privacy Act Affiliate Sharing Provisions Narrowly Survive Complete Preemption

Posted in Direct Marketing

On September 4, 2008, in American Bankers Association v. Lockyer, No. 05-17163, 2008 WL 4070308 (9th Cir. Sept. 4, 2008), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revived part of the California Financial Information Privacy Act (“S.B. 1”), allowing consumers to opt-out of certain information-sharing activities between financial institutions and their affiliates. Previously, in the 2005 case… Continue Reading

Affiliate Marketing Rule Alert: Compliance Deadline is October 1, 2008

Posted in Direct Marketing

Section 214 of Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) was enacted to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the “Act”) to give consumers the right to restrict certain entities from using certain information received from their affiliates to make solicitations to that consumer unless the consumer has been provided (1) “clear and conspicuous” notice that the consumer’s information will be shared for such purposes, and (2) an opportunity to opt out of having such information shared for such purposes.
On November 7, 2007, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration issued a joint final rule (along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), which separately adopted and proposed, respectively, similar regulations) under the amended Act (the “Affiliate Marketing Rule” or “Final Rule,” codified at 12 C.F.R. Parts 41, 222, 334, 571 and 717) governing the use of specific consumer information obtained by covered entities from their affiliates for certain marketing purposes.
The Affiliate Marketing Rule became effective on January 1, 2008, and compliance by covered entities is required by October 1, 2008.

Emerging Standards For Mobile Marketing

Posted in Direct Marketing

Many B2C companies are beginning to explore marketing to consumers’ wireless devices using text messaging (“SMS,” or “short message service”) and MMS messaging (“Multi-media Messaging Service”). They may even target their promotions based on where the recipient is physically located using the wireless device’s GPS technology. They also may target their promotions to teens and tweens. What legal issues should… Continue Reading