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November 1998


Recent Legislation Impacting Telemarketing Business

BY JERRY CERASALE, DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION

Laws Enacted In 1998

A Connecticut law, effective October 1, 1998, requires an employer to provide prior written notice, posted in a conspicuous place, of the types of employee monitoring that may be used in the workplace.

A law in Georgia, which became effective July 1, 1998, prohibits telephone solicitation calls to Georgia residents who have informed the state that they do not wish to receive unsolicited telephone sales calls. The law exempts calls made with a resident's prior express invitation or permission, to a person with whom the caller has a prior or current relationship, or by or on behalf of charitable organizations recognized by the state. The Public Service Commission is required to provide the list of subscribers who do not wish to receive unsolicited telephone sales calls beginning January 1, 1999. A copy of the list is $10 per year.

The law also prohibits telephone solicitors from knowingly using any method to block the display of their telephone number from recipients' caller ID devices.

Idaho law as of July 1, 1998 exempts an established business relationship between a sender and a recipient from the ban on sending unsolicited advertisements via facsimile.

Illinois requires callers making unsolicited telephone calls to offer or sell securities to identify themselves, the dealer or investment adviser on whose behalf they are calling and the purpose of the call. Calls may be made from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The law took effect July 30, 1998.

A Kentucky law, effective July 15, 1998, establishes a "no telephone solicitation calls" list maintained by the division of consumer affairs protection and limits telephone solicitation calls to the hours of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for persons registered under Kentucky's telephone registration law. Telephone marketers are prohibited from blocking the display of their phone numbers from call ID devices.

A Michigan law, effective June 10, 1998, broadens the definition of a "home solicitation sale" to include a sale of goods or services for $25 or more that results from a postcard or other written notice delivered to the buyer that requests the buyer to contact the seller by telephone to inquire about the goods or service. The term does not include a written notice about a previous purchase or order or a notice that describes the goods or service, including the prices.

Another Michigan law prohibits callers from delivering "intrastate commercial advertising" after April 1, 1999 if the caller knowingly blocks the display of caller ID information, and prohibits ADAD calls without the request or consent of the called party.

A third Michigan law, which takes effect April 1, 1999, prohibits concealing the geographic location of a business by listing a local phone number that forwards a customer's call to an out-of-state number. Similarly, as of April 1, 1999, Michigan will prohibit concealing the geographic location of a business by placing an ad in a telephone directory that makes it appear as if an out-of-state business has a location in Michigan.

Effective January 1, 1999, telephone marketers are prohibited from blocking the display of their telephone numbers on a New Hampshire resident's caller ID.

New York law, effective November 4, 1998, prohibits telephone marketers from blocking the identification of their names and telephone numbers on consumers' caller ID devices.

A law in Utah, which requires telephone solicitors to immediately identify themselves, the business on whose behalf they are soliciting and the purpose of the call, and to discontinue the solicitation if the called party gives a "negative response" at any time during the phone call, took effect on May 4, 1998. "Negative response" means a statement from the called party stating that he or she does not wish to listen to the sales presentation or participate in the solicitation. Telephone marketers may not withhold display of their phone numbers from caller ID devices.

West Virginia law, effective June 14, 1998, enacts telephone registration requirements similar to registration laws in other states.

Pending Legislation
A Massachusetts bill allows for a three-day right of cancellation for telephone sales upon the buyer's receipt of the confirmation and cancellation notice from the seller.

Massachusetts legislation restricts prerecorded telephone messages to 10 seconds in length.

A Michigan proposal prohibits the transmission of unsolicited fax advertisements.

A measure in Michigan requires telephone sellers to notify buyers of a three-day right of cancellation.

Michigan legislation prohibits employers from monitoring employees' communications unless the employer has established and provided a written monitoring policy.

A bill in Michigan requires employers who monitor their employees' communications to establish a written policy specifying: the methods of monitoring that will be used, the forms of communication that will be subject to monitoring, and the frequency of the monitoring. Employees must be given advance written notice of monitoring.

A New Jersey measure prohibits the delivery of a recorded message to a cellular phone, paging device or other service that causes the subscriber to incur a charge.

Pending New Jersey legislation prohibits the transmission of unsolicited e-mail.

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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