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Is there a call abandonment safe harbor?

The Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) safe harbor has a 3% call abandonment rule. Under the TSR, it is illegal for telemarketers to abandon any outbound call—with an abandoned call being defined as a call that does not connect the consumer to a sales representative within two seconds of the consumer answering the phone. But the TSR also makes some allowances for predictive dialers, which necessarily have a certain amount of abandoned calls because of how they operate.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website explains that the conditions under which a caller would be eligible to claim this safe harbor are if the caller:

  • uses technology that ensures abandonment of no more than three percent of all calls answered by a live person, measured over the duration of a single calling campaign, if less than 30 days, or separately over each successive 30-day period or portion thereof that the campaign continues. 
  • allows the telephone to ring for 15 seconds or four rings before disconnecting an unanswered call. 
  • plays a recorded message stating the name and telephone number of the seller on whose behalf the call was placed whenever a live sales representative is unavailable within two seconds of a live person answering the call. 
  • maintains records documenting adherence to the three requirements above.
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