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Home > Debt Relief Industry > Florida Continues Crackdown on Telemarketing Licenses. Sales Scripts Need to Be Submitted in Advance.

Florida Continues Crackdown on Telemarketing Licenses. Sales Scripts Need to Be Submitted in Advance.

Last year I wrote about the need for a Florida telemarketing license if you are calling out of or into Florida for clients.

Information on how to get a license can be found here.

Apparently telephone sales scripts need to be submitted to the department prior to use. At least that’s what some folks found out the hard way.

This month Florida cracked down again on unlicensed telemarketers and issued this statement.

Commissioner Putnam Cracks Down on Telemarketing Scams

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continued his crackdown against unlicensed telemarketers last week, shutting down firms in several southwest Florida counties.

Investigators from the Department’s Division of Consumer Services, in partnership with the Department’s Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement, conducted inspections in Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. Investigators issued cease and desist orders to 12 businesses and 170 salespeople.

In addition to the unlicensed telemarketing activity, investigators found violations ranging from operating at an undisclosed location to using telephone sales scripts that had not been submitted to the Department for review. In total, 19 businesses were inspected and more than 200 violations of the Florida Telemarketing Act were cited resulting in $108,000.00 in fines against offending businesses. Further investigations are pending.

“The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is focused on protecting consumers from harmful and deceptive practices,” Commissioner Putnam said. “Effective telemarketing regulation benefits consumers by providing protection from identity theft and unscrupulous operators. It creates a fair and level playing field for telemarketing businesses that abide by the rules.”

The Department regulates the telemarketing industry and requires businesses and their sales agents to register. The Department’s registration process does not permit individuals with criminal histories involving fraud to get a license for telemarketing.

Consumer complaints about telemarketing top the list of consumer complaints filed with the Department’s Division of Consumer Services during 2010. 8,599 or roughly 22 percent of the complaints received were related to telemarketing.

Overall, consumer complaints in 2010 increased by seven percent to just over 40,000. More than 88 percent of those complaints were successfully closed or resolved.

The top ten consumer complaints received by the Department in 2010 are:

Telemarketing, 8,599
Do not Call, 7,632
Credit/ Banking, 2,528
Communications, 2,248
Travel/ Vacation Plans, 1,977
Motor Vehicle Repair, 1,902
Real Estate/ Broker, 1,627
Motor Vehicle Sale, 1,492
Landlord/ Tenant, 1,415
Medical, 1,046

Consumers who believe fraud has taken place, can contact the Department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or for Spanish speakers 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). Consumers can also check registration status or the complaint history of a telemarketer by logging on to www.800helpfla.com. – Source

Florida Continues Crackdown on Telemarketing Licenses. Sales Scripts Need to Be Submitted in Advance.
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Steve Rhode

    Michael,

    There was just so much abuse. Before the TSR I could pretty much bet you that every single site I would go look at or secret shopper call I made would be full of deceptive statements.

    People some times wondered how many companies I’ve have to secret shop to find the worst examples, one.

    It’s probably important to look at this situation from a different point of view. If marketers had not been taking money and not providing services, making false and deceptive performance claims and flat out telling lies to seal the deal, the FTC would not have cracked down. In my experience the FTC is not out looking for things to do.

    If you want to witness the exact same thing happen again just watch what is going to happen with mass joinder marketing. It’s going to be just as bad or worse.

    Lead gen could have possibly played a role in stopping this mess if there was a strong trade association that would have established strong standards against deceptive marketing from the leads.

    If anything, in the early days of the telemarketing sales rule debates the government wanted the industry to police itself so regulation was not necessary. The industry simply did not do that and what you see is the result.

    I’d love for you to stick around and subscribe to the site feed so you can come back and offer your opinion and observations on issues. We don’t get to hear from the lead gen side enough.

    Steve

  • Michael Dukes

    Hi Steve-

    Do you feel the FTC is over the top with their crack down efforts in the debt space or do you feel they are prudent in their actions protecting the consumers best interest? We provide leads for debt settlement companies, many of which are not in business any longer or on their way out. We abide by the rulings in our marketing efforts, which has hurt conversions. More and more we see big brother stepping in all our verticals and really making it hard to make a living. Prior to providing debt leads we were 90% mortgage refi centric. For a company doing lead generation/sales legitimately we are very frustrated with the overall landscape we have to work in these days.

    Thanks in advance for any advice. Great site!

    Michael Dukes

  • http://nationalleadservice.com/debt-leads/ Michael Dukes

    Hi Steve-

    Do you feel the FTC is over the top with their crack down efforts in the debt space or do you feel they are prudent in their actions protecting the consumers best interest? We provide leads for debt settlement companies, many of which are not in business any longer or on their way out. We abide by the rulings in our marketing efforts, which has hurt conversions. More and more we see big brother stepping in all our verticals and really making it hard to make a living. Prior to providing debt leads we were 90% mortgage refi centric. For a company doing lead generation/sales legitimately we are very frustrated with the overall landscape we have to work in these days.

    Thanks in advance for any advice. Great site!

    Michael Dukes

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Michael,

      There was just so much abuse. Before the TSR I could pretty much bet you that every single site I would go look at or secret shopper call I made would be full of deceptive statements.

      People some times wondered how many companies I’ve have to secret shop to find the worst examples, one.

      It’s probably important to look at this situation from a different point of view. If marketers had not been taking money and not providing services, making false and deceptive performance claims and flat out telling lies to seal the deal, the FTC would not have cracked down. In my experience the FTC is not out looking for things to do.

      If you want to witness the exact same thing happen again just watch what is going to happen with mass joinder marketing. It’s going to be just as bad or worse.

      Lead gen could have possibly played a role in stopping this mess if there was a strong trade association that would have established strong standards against deceptive marketing from the leads.

      If anything, in the early days of the telemarketing sales rule debates the government wanted the industry to police itself so regulation was not necessary. The industry simply did not do that and what you see is the result.

      I’d love for you to stick around and subscribe to the site feed so you can come back and offer your opinion and observations on issues. We don’t get to hear from the lead gen side enough.

      Steve

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