FTC Puts Screws on 900-Numbers

WASHINGTON – The Federal Trade Commission has continued its crackdown on 900-number companies with new restrictions on advertising. The rules, which go into effect Nov. 1, cover broadcast and print ads, sweepstakes ads, and ads targeted to kids. ‘We expect this to create clear disclosure of what consumers are buying,’ said David Torok, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. Among the extensive new regulations are requirements that fee disclosure information in print ads be at least half the point size of the largest phone number. In TV ads, fees must be displayed every time the phone number is shown and read aloud at least once if the spot has audio. Ads targeted to children under 18 must include a warning that parental permission is required to call the number. The new rules ban 900-number ads targeted at children under 12 and prohibit companies from using 800-numbers that switch to 900-numbers. The National Association for Information Services banded with the AAF and the American Association of Advertising Agencies to oppose the restrictions.
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