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August 1999

Pertinent New And Pending Legislation For Telephone Marketers


The following represents new laws and pending legislation affecting telephone marketers:

Alabama law establishes a state-operated do-not-call database by July 1, 1999. Every company required to register as a "commercial telephone seller" in Alabama must comply with the state do-not-call list by January, 2000. (Effective July 1, 1999 and July 1, 2000.)

Arizona law requires entities exempt from registration to file a "limited registration statement" consisting of the name of the seller, the names under which the seller is doing business, the complete street address and telephone number of the seller?s location and the reason the seller is exempt from full registration.

Sellers required to file a limited registration statement are not required to pay a filing fee and are not required to file and maintain a bond. (Effective August 6, 1999.)

Arkansas law prohibits telephone marketers from using any method to prevent caller identification information from being shown on a device capable of displaying such information on a consumer's caller I.D. box. (Effective July 30, 1999.)

Arkansas law also prohibits telephone marketers from submitting for payment a check, draft or other form of negotiable instrument without the consumer's express written authorization. (Effective June 30, 1999.)

An amended bill in Illinois (sent to the Governor) prohibits caller I.D. blocking by telephone marketers when the marketer's service or equipment is capable of displaying the marketer's telephone number.

Nebraska law requires sellers to provide written cancellation notice in telephone sales. Sales in which the seller at a minimum has a policy of giving the consumer the right to review goods or services for at least seven days after the date of delivery, accepting returns or canceling services and providing a refund for the return of unused and undamaged merchandise or canceled service are exempt. The bill sets standards for prize promotions and record-keeping and prohibits certain practices. (Effective August 28, 1999.)

Nevada law permits the use of ADADs to make commercial telephone calls if a recorded or unrecorded natural voice announces before the dissemination of the recorded message the nature of the call and provides the name, address and telephone number of the business or organization being represented by the caller. ADAD calls to persons with whom the caller has a preexisting business relationship are also permitted. (Effective October 1, 1999.)

Another Nevada law requires certain applicants for registration as a seller and certain persons associated with them to obtain a work card issued by the sheriff of the county in which the seller's business is located. (Effective October 1, 1999.)

South Dakota law provides verification procedures for changing a subscriber's telecommunications company. (Effective July 1, 1999.)

Tennessee law establishes a database at the Tennessee Regulatory Authority which allows residential telephone subscribers to indicate that they do not wish to receive solicitation calls from telephone marketers. (Effective July 1, 1999.)

Pending Bills
legislation requires telephone solicitors to identify themselves at the beginning of the call and request permission to continue.

A New Jersey bill amends wiretapping law to require that all parties to a call consent to being intercepted.

Massachusetts legislation directs the state to prescribe regulations specifying the manner in which persons using automated dialing systems may obtain from common carriers the names and telephone numbers of persons who have given notice that they do not wish to receive ADAD calls. Sellers using ADADs for commercial purposes must obtain the list prior to doing business in the state.

A bill in Ohio requires the Attorney General to maintain a list of Ohio telephone customers who do not wish to receive telephone sales calls. Telephone marketers are prohibited from blocking the display of identifying information on a recipient’s caller I.D. service.

An Illinois measure re-quires anyone engaging in push-polling by telephone to disclose that the call is being made on behalf of, in support of, or in opposition to a particular candidate; identify the candidate by name and furnish the telephone number of the place from which the push-polling is conducted.

Pennsylvania bill prohibits using ADADs to make solicitation calls unless a natural, unrecorded voice states the nature of the call and the name, address and telephone number of the business represented by the call and the customer gives consent for the call. The ADAD must immediately disconnect after the customer terminates the phone call.

A Massachusetts measure provides for a three-day right of cancellation notice and requires telephone marketers to issue a full refund to the buyer within 14 days of receipt of the cancellation notice. The notice of the cancellation right may be made in each oral solicitation or telephone call where business is solicited, or in the initial written solicitation of the buyer. In addition, the right to cancel must be mailed to the buyer within one week after the transaction date.

Another bill in Massachusetts provides for the monthly publication of a “do-not-call” list of residents who do not wish to receive telephone solicitation calls. Hours for telephone marketing are limited to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time, “or at any time otherwise specified by a consumer.”

Legislation pending in New Jersey requires registration of telephone marketers, including any person whose residence or principal place of business is located outside the state, and the filing of a $50,000 bond.

Additional New Jersey legislation prohibits automatic dialers from disconnecting from a phone line without delivering a message.

Senders of commercial unsolicited e-mail are required to obtain consent before sending unsolicited e-mail advertising. The message must contain the word “advertisement” in its subject line and must include the name, mailing address, telephone number and return e-mail address of the sender and the date and time the message is sent. Advertisers must immediately discontinue sending commercial e-mail if the recipient so requests.

A New York bill prohibits using an assumed or fictitious name to intentionally misrepresent the geographic origin or location of a business.

Pennsylvania legislation amends the state’s telephone registration law to prohibit the use of a courier to pick up payment for a telephone sale unless the consumer has an opportunity to inspect the goods prior to payment.

Wisconsin legislation prohibits employers from permitting employees to place telephone solicitation calls that block caller I.D. technology.

Jerry Cerasale is the senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association. He is in charge of DMA’s contact with Congress, all federal agencies, and state and local governments.

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