If you sell a product or service using telemarketing, take heart. As long as you aren’t breaking the law, in a very real sense, you’re part of what makes this country great. If you’re a consumer and you hate being called by telemarketers and haven’t placed your number on the DNC list, you have no right to complain.
Negative option billing is nothing new. Many book clubs have been using them in one form or another since the 1950’s, but despite this fact, more than a few consumers fail to read the fine print. Even that wouldn’t be such a large problem if companies made it easier to cancel their programs, but many consumers feel harassed or intimidated when they try to cancel membership, which adds insult to injury when they feel ripped off in the first place.
Any company that advertises a product or service using e-mail, Internet, telemarketing, print, TV or radio should have at least some familiarity with the most important advertising statutes, many of which are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Taking the time to understand how these statutes and rules may affect your business will help avoid costly mistakes. The FTC can impose hefty fines (up to $16,000.00 per violation) for violations, so learn them and live by them.
The term “boilerplate” originated in the early 1900s, referring to the thick, tough steel sheets used to build steam boilers. Articles and advertisements were typically cast in steel and distributed to local newspapers throughout the country, ready for the printing press, and they became known as “boilerplates”. The term has since been adopted by lawyers to describe provisions of a contract that protect a business in the event of a lawsuit, and are usually inserted as standard practice.
On December 7th, Microsoft announced that it will be adding a tracking protection feature to Internet Explorer 9. Some may view this move as the beginning of the end for behavioral advertising. I think it’s the end of the beginning.