Your telephone company may use your customer information without your approval to market enhancements to services you already use. For example, if you purchase a basic local telephone service from a telephone company, it does not need your approval to use your customer information to try to sell you voice mail or a caller ID service.
If your telephone company uses your customer information for other types of marketing, it must obtain your approval to do so. The company may request your approval orally, in writing, or electronically. The request must contain specific disclosures about how the company will use your customer information. The company can request your approval by using one of the following two methods:
- “Opt-Out”– Your company sends you a notice saying it will consider you to have given your approval to use your customer information for marketing unless you tell it not to do so (usually within 30 days.) Opting out must be free of charge and easy to use.
- “Opt-In”– Your company sends you a notice asking that you expressly give it permission to use your customer information for marketing.
Your telephone company must obtain your “opt-out” or “opt-in” approval before it can share your customer information within the company to sell you a service you haven’t already purchased; for example, to sell you a long distance service if you only subscribe to a local service. Your company must obtain your “opt-in” approval to disclose your customer information for marketing purposes to joint venture partners and independent contractors. If your telephone company discloses your customer information to joint venture partners or independent contractors, it must enter into agreements with them to keep your customer information confidential.