Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled a claim against the Consumer Education Group for $100,000 regarding alleged violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR”) and Section 5(a) of the FTC Act. The FTC alleged that Consumer Education Group made millions of illegal telemarketing calls, including unlawful robocalls, to consumers in an effort to generate sales leads for third parties.  Additionally, the FTC alleged that Consumer Education Group invited consumers to sign up for information regarding solar panels, reverse mortgages, and bathtubs, only to later find that Consumer Education Group collected the information to be sold as leads to third parties.  The settlement bars the organization from continuing its telemarketing campaign, requiring it to comply with the TSR on a going-forward basis, and pay a $100,000 civil penalty.

Takeaway: Online advertisers should clearly and conspicuously disclose how information they collect is stored and maintained via their privacy policy.  Additionally, advertisers engaging in a telemarketing campaign should be aware of the rules set forth in the TSR, as well as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.