Regulatory Alert: Changes to State Telemarketing Laws

The state legislatures began their 2020 sessions with a flurry of activity.  The following is a recap of the teleservices bills that have been enacted from January 1 – March 31, 2020:

Indiana

When Indiana’s telemarketing registration was broadened in 2019, it created a large swath of registration requirements applicable to most businesses making calls from or into the state. Recently enacted House Bill 1109, however, narrows the scope of registration in two ways. First, it added a list of call types that narrows the scope of who qualifies as a “seller” for purposes of registration – for example, calls which include a false representation that a prospect will receive a gift or a false representation regarding the identity of the solicitor. Second, it clarifies that sellers solely making calls that are exempt from Indian’s already narrow do-not-call rules are not required to register. These new, favorable restrictions retroactively took effect January 1st of 2020.

Kentucky

Autodialed calls and pre-recorded messages placed to publicly available business numbers are now exempt from Kentucky’s restrictions on the use of automated calling equipment. It is important to note, however, that the subject matter of the calls must be related to the reason the number is held out to the public.

South Dakota

South Dakota has enacted changes to its caller identification requirements. Telemarketers making unsolicited calls to residential numbers are now required to display their authentic name or entity name and telephone number on consumer call identification technologies. Note that this requirement does not contain an exemption for phone systems that are incapable of broadcasting this information. In addition, the new rules expressly prohibit the use of misleading or false caller identification information.

Utah

The state of Utah has amended its private right of action for violations of its state telemarketing laws. Violations of the law that are found to be “knowing” or “willful” will now qualify the consumer to receive treble damages in return for said violations.

Virginia

Virginia has amended its definition of “telephone solicitation” to include the use of text messages for telemarketing purposes. In addition, the state has further amended the definition to include acts of fraudulent activity such as the use of misleading or inaccurate caller identification information. In other words, the use of inaccurate caller identification information qualifies a call as a “telephone solicitation” regardless of the subject matter or purpose of the call.