Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined a bipartisan coalition of 28 state attorneys general calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take a tougher stand against companies tricking consumers into agreeing to receive telemarketing and texts.
“Sleazy ‘lead generators’ try to trick people into consenting to receive spam calls or texts from hundreds of companies they’ve never heard of and never want to hear from. We are asking the FCC to toughen the rules on consent requirements so Virginians only hear from organizations they agree to,” said Attorney General Miyares.
The FCC is proposing to amend its rule concerning consent to close a so-called “lead generator loophole.” Lead generators are entities that collect personal information (like telephone numbers) from consumers and sell it to third parties, who then use that information to solicit consumers to purchase goods or services. As the attorneys general explain, “Telemarketers, voice service providers, and scammers need people to call (and/or text),” so lead generators have “proliferated into a billion-dollar industry.”
A common lead generator practice is to offer a consumer a quote for a good or service online (like insurance products), and in order to receive the quote, the consumer has to agree to receive calls or texts from the lead generator’s “marketing partners.”
The attorneys general urge the FCC to draw a “clear line in the sand,” adopting a rule where consumers can consent to be called by a single seller, and that there be a ‘clear and conspicuous disclosure’ of the consequences of providing the requested consent.
Joining in the letter are attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.