Do outsourced telemarketers have to identify themselves or their clients when they call? Now, following a lengthy temporary waiver, the FSA has adopted a settled position. Will it still mean having to apply for a waiver to name your client instead of yourself?
The Financial Services Authority
Previously on marketinglaw we have reported on a temporary waiver granted by the FSA in circumstances where general insurance direct selling operations are outsourced. The waiver relates to the normal obligation to disclose the entity actually making the direct sales approach, most typically by means of an outbound telephone call.
The effect of the temporary waiver was to allow the caller to name its client rather than the sub-contractor for whom the caller worked, when making that call. The waiver had to be applied for and granted before the so the called "third party processor" making the call would be entitled to name its client rather than third party processor.
The third party processors' arguments for remaining unnamed were that otherwise it might confuse consumers and it was questionable as to whether there was any benefit to the consumer in knowing that they were dealing with the third party since it was the client who was responsible for the transaction.
The FSA agreed that these arguments had some weight and consulted on a proposed permanent waiver.
Now the FSA has fully accepted the arguments put to them by bodies such as the DMA on behalf of third party processors. This is on condition that the client company accepts full responsibility for the activities of the third party processor and that this is clearly set out in the outsourcing agreement between the client and the third party processor.
The FSA's decision means that it will no longer be necessary to apply for a case by case waiver. The FSA has also extended the waiver to mortgage sales and accepted that if there is a chain of out-sourced sub-contractors, the waiver may still be properly taken advantage of so long as the entity that has the interface with the consumer correctly identifies the ultimate product provider as the caller and provided that the product provider at the top of the chain ("Firm A") accepts responsibility for the sub-contractor at the other end of the chain ("Firm C") in the outsourcing agreement Firm A has with Firm B in the middle of the chain.