The case to be discussed involves children of 12 years making phone calls to 900 numbers when some of their friends came to his home to spend the weekend with him. The FTC Consumer Fraud Protection Information Regarding 900 Pay-Per-Call Services described in the website http://www. telephoneprograms. com/consumerinfo. html states that the law prohibits companies from promoting 900 numbers to young children. It has also been mentioned in the website that some of the companies do promote 900 numbers among children, urging them to speak to cartoon characters by dialing 900 numbers.
According to the FTC rule, they are prohibited from promoting any such pay-per-call service to the children below the age of 12 years. But they are allowed to do so only if the service is educational in nature. The law states that if a company wishes to target such ads towards children, they must mention that parental permission is required to make the call. The above mentioned website has also mentioned that preambles for all 900 numbers must contain that statement.
As per The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act mentioned in the website http://www. ftc. gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27. pdf (2006), the phone company cannot take any action against the consumer in the case that we are discussing. A debt collector may not be held liable in any action brought under this title if the debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not inten¬tional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error.
( p 17, clause (c) from the above mentioned website. ) Laws regarding call to 900 numbers 4 The next clause (d) mentioned in the above mentioned website states that any action to create a liability in this case can be brought in any appropriate district court of the United States or in any other court of competent jurisdiction and this has to be done within one year from the date violation of the law occurs. Another law that needs to be mentioned in this case is the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (FSGO).
Some modifications have recently been made in FSGO rules. All these are available in the website http://www. ethics. org/erc-publications/staff-articles. asp? aid=779 . The recent changes have been debated, researched and framed and then been executed expecting the corporations or organizations to have an effective ethics and compliance program. There are four important things that these changes have become relevant to an organization’s code of conduct. (Kenneth W. Johnson, 2004)
To quote from the above website, these changes are – (1) broadening of the purpose of an effective program to include developing an ethical organizational culture, (2) specific requirements to design a program around identified risks and regular program evaluation, (3) recognition of a disincentive to having an effective program, often called the "litigation dilemma," and (4) attention to the challenges of the small (less than 200 employees) organization. (Kenneth W.
Johnson, 2004) If the companies follow the rule of not sending 900 advertisements to young children and be little ethical in the process, they reduce the risk of loosing money, as they will not be able to recover their billed amount in such cases and hence gets more exposed to risk of their money. Laws regarding call to 900 numbers 5
Reference List 1) FTC Consumer Fraud Protection Information Regarding 900 Pay-Per-Call Services, retrieved 1st March 2009 from http://www.telephoneprograms. com/consumerinfo. html 2) Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, retrieved 1st March, 2009 from http://www. ftc. gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27. pdf 3) Kenneth W. Johnson , 2004, Ethics Resource Centre, Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Key Points and Profound Changes, retrieved 1st March, 2009 from http://www. ethics. org/erc-publications/staff-articles. asp? aid=779