Pertinent New And Pending Legislation For Telephone
BY JERRY CERASALE, DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION
Several new laws that pertain to the call center industry have recently taken effect.
What follows is a state-by-state listing of this legislation.
Louisiana law requires telephone solicitors to provide a name and
telephone number where the telephone solicitor can be reached during normal business
hours. In the event the telephone solicitor originates calls from a private branch
exchange (PBX) and such PBX does not pass the identifying telephone number, the
telecommunications provider must provide a trunk number which would identify the telephone
solicitor. A telecommunications service provider would be exempt from this requirement in
the event such delivery is not technically feasible. This law became effective August 15,
Effective September 7, 1999, New Hampshire now requires contracts
between paid solicitors and charitable trusts to specify that contributor names,
addresses, dates and amounts of contributions remain the sole property of the charity.
New York law prohibits the use of courier pickup and delivery services
by a seller to retrieve a deposit or payment in connection with a prize award and permits
the buyer to cancel the sale by any means in the event of a violation of this prohibition.
This law was implemented July 1, 1999.
A recently enacted Oregon law provides for the establishment of a
state-maintained list of residential telephone subscribers who do not wish to receive
telephone solicitation calls.
Rhode Island law mandates that telephone marketers who are required to
register post a $30,000 bond.
Telephone marketers are required to have procedures for maintaining a list of persons
who do not wish to receive telephone sales calls, in compliance with federal law.
Calls by telephone marketers required to register are limited to 9:00 a.m. to 6:00
p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Calls made by automatic dialing-announcing devices must be preceded by a live operator
who obtains the telephone subscriber's consent for the call and discloses the name of the
business or other entity for which the message is being sent; the purpose of the message;
the identity of the goods or services the message is promoting; and, if applicable, that
the message intends to solicit payment or commitment of funds. This law became effective July
Summary Of Do-Not-Call Laws
Alabama established a state-operated do-not-call database on 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.
Alaska local exchange carriers (LECs) are now offering residential
telephone customers who do not wish to receive unsolicited telephone solicitation calls a
black dot next to their names in local telephone directories. Not all of the
LECs are offering the black dot service at this time or providing lists to
Arkansas law (effective July 30, 1999) establishes, by January 1,
2000, a single statewide database of telephone numbers of Arkansas residents who object to
receiving telephone solicitation calls. The state Attorney General must specify methods by
which consumers may place their names on the list, how names and telephone numbers may be
withdrawn from the list and the frequency with which the database will be updated.
Telephone marketers have 10 days to update their lists whenever the official database is
The term telephone solicitation does not include calls made to consumers
with whom the caller has a prior or existing business relationship, in response to a prior
written or express invitation or permission, calls to anyone who has placed a for
sale sign on his or her property inviting a telephone response or calls made solely
in connection with an existing debt or contractual obligation.
In addition, the act does not apply to licensed real estate agents, motor vehicle
dealers or insurance agents soliciting business; investment brokers, dealers and agents
registered with the Arkansas Securities Commissioner; calls made on
behalf of a charitable organization when the telephone solicitor receives no compensation
for its activities; calls on behalf of a newspaper of general circulation soliciting
subscriptions or advertising; calls on behalf of federally or state-chartered banks if the
call does not relate to credit card offers; and telephone calls made on behalf of funeral
establishments licensed by the state if the call is related to services provided by the
funeral home in its ordinary course of business.
Florida law prohibits telephone solicitors from placing sales calls to
any residential, mobile or paging device telephone number appearing on the current
quarterly listing published by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
As of July 1, 1998, Georgia prohibits telephone solicitation calls to
residential subscribers in Georgia who have informed the state that they do not wish to
receive unsolicited telephone sales calls. Calls made with a residents 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 of
Georgia are exempt from no call provisions.
Kentucky law requires sellers registered under the states
telephone registration law to obtain a no telephone solicitation calls list
maintained by the Division of Consumer Protection and to limit calls to the hours of 10:00
a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The law also prohibits telephone marketers from blocking the display of their phone
numbers from caller I.D. devices. This law became effective July 15, 1998.
Tennessee law establishes a database at the Tennessee Regulatory
Authority which allows residential telephone subscribers to indicate that they do not wish
to receive telephone solicitation calls from telephone marketers. The database must be
operational by July 1, 2000.
A bill in Delaware, as amended and passed in the House, requires
registration and bonding of telephone solicitors, contains identification and record
keeping provisions and requires contracts for telephone sales.
Another Delaware measure establishes a biannual do-not-call list to be
maintained by the Attorney Generals office. Telephone marketers have 30 days from
publication before they are required to delete the names and telephone numbers on the
Additional legislation pending prohibits telephone marketers from blocking caller I.D.
technology and requires them to maintain a list of consumers who do not wish to receive
further calls from them or their clients.
An Illinois bill prohibits telephone solicitors from making calls in a
manner that impedes the function of a recipients caller I.D. service.
Massachusetts legislation prohibits telephone solicitors from blocking
caller I.D. technology.
Another Massachusetts bill requires employers to provide prior written
notice informing employees of the types of monitoring the employer uses, what data are to
be collected, a full description of how monitored information is used and the frequency of
monitoring. Those who engage in telephone service observation must prominently place in
their advertisements and in each customer bill a statement that the employer engages in
Michigan legislation prohibits employers from monitoring employee
conversations unless a monitoring policy has been established and disclosed to the
A bill in North Carolina requires the Secretary of State to establish
a quarterly list of residential telephone subscribers who do not wish to receive telephone
solicitation calls. The Secretary must provide consumers on the list with information
about the Direct Marketing Associations Telephone Preference Service (TPS),
including how to participate in the program. Telephone solicitors who participate in TPS
and make written certification of the fact to the Secretary are considered in compliance
with the proposed law.
Calls in response to an express request of the called party; primarily in connection
with an existing debt or contract; to any person with whom the telephone solicitor has a
prior or existing business relationship; or 501(c)(3) organizations are exempt from
Telephone marketers are prohibited from using any method to block or otherwise
circumvent a subscribers caller I.D. service.
Pending legislation allows residential telephone subscribers to be placed on a
state-maintained list of persons who do not wish to receive telephone solicitations.
Telephone solicitors are prohibited from knowingly using any method to block or otherwise
circumvent a telephone subscribers caller I.D. service.
Jerry Cerasale is the senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct
Marketing Association. He is in charge of DMAs contact with Congress, all federal
agencies, and state and local governments.