Still plagued by telemarketing calls at home or on your cell phone? New rules from the Federal Trade Commission enforcing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”; 47 U.S.C. §227 et. seq.), effective this past October, further restrict automated telemarketing. Any “automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice,” including calls to a residential land line or call or text message to a cellular phone, used for marketing without the “prior express consent of the called party” may be a violation. “Prior express written consent” must be clear and conspicuous and cannot be required as a condition of purchase of goods or services. An ongoing business relationship cannot be the sole basis of the consent. The TCPA includes the right to sue to recover actual losses or statutory damages of $500.00 per call, or triple that for a willful violation. These rules relate only to marketing for a commercial purpose and do not apply to calls by or on behalf of charitable organizations or calls to deliver a health care message.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the Do Not Call Registry that allows consumers to stop getting telemarketing calls at home. Registration is free online at www.donotcall.gov or toll free (888) 382-1222.
Arizona also has a statute regarding telephone solicitations (A.R.S. §44-1271 et seq.), requiring most telemarketers to file a registration statement with the Arizona Secretary of State, file a bond with the State Treasurer’s Office, and prohibits certain misrepresentations and requires certain disclosures. Consumer complaints of violations of the federal or state statute can be reported to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office online at www.azag.gov or from Tucson call: (520) 628-6504.