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Fall 2003-09 New Puerto Rico telemarketing law

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Number 53
Fall 2003

New Puerto Rico telemarketing law

Law No. 210 of August 28, 2003, regulates telemarketing in Puerto Rico.

The new legislation sets forth prohibited and abusive practices, and creates a registry of activities.

Prohibited practices

The following practices are prohibited by Law No. 210:

  • Failure to announce, during the first minute of a telemarketing call and before any payment is required:
    • the true purpose of the call,
    • the true name of the company calling,
    • the goods or services offered.
  • Misrepresent or fail to communicate the following, clearly and in detail:
    • total cost of the goods to the consumer,
    • any restriction, limitation or condition to the purchase,
    • cancellation, return or exchange policy,
    • any cost or condition regarding awards and prizes, including winning odds, and value and nature of the prize,
    • the exact amount of any offer.
  • Failure to inform correctly the quality and basic characteristics of the goods or services offered.
  • Falsely announce that the product or the company is endorsed by a government agency.
  • Require or accept payment, or draw against a bank account prior to the receipt of the express and verifiable authorization of the consumer.
  • Threaten or intimidate the consumer.
  • Solicit any incentive in order to remove negative information from a person's credit history.
  • Allow the telephone to ring more than five times.
  • Call a person who has requested not to be called.
  • Call at any time other than between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm.

Registry

All telemarketers must keep an exact registry of all telemarketing activities, for a period of five years. The registry must state:

  • the physical address of the telemarketer's operations,
  • copies of all telemarketing scripts,
  • copies of all written consumer authorizations,
  • names and telephone numbers of persons who have indicated not to call them,
  • copies of the cancellation, reimbursement or return policies of all goods offered,
  • materials that justify any claim regarding return, efficiency, nature or characteristics of offered goods or services,
  • written consents of product endorsers.

Exemptions

The law does not apply to:

  • polls,
  • securities brokers,
  • investment consultants,
  • deposit institutions insured by the FDIC or PROSAD,
  • insurance companies,
  • colleges and universities,
  • publishers of catalogues, if
  • the catalogues have not less than 15 pages,
  • the catalogues are published at least three times a year, and
  • the catalogues have a circulation of at least 100,000 copies,
  • government agencies,
  • licensed Realtors,
  • registered travel agencies.

Penalties

Any contract resulting from a telemarketing activity that breaches this law may be voided by the consumer. Moreover, the law imposes fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, and also provides for imprisonment for not more than six months. The Department of Consumer Affairs is empowered to promulgate regulations.


© 2003 Goldman Antonetti

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