UTILITIES - TELEPHONE;
Federal laws/regulations; Connecticut laws/regulations;
July 10, 2003
FEDERAL AND STATE "DO NOT CALL" LISTS
By: Daniel Duffy, Principal Analyst
You asked (1) if the state “No Sales Solicitation Calls” list and the federal “Do Not Call” list exempt the same telemarketers; (2) if someone enrolled on the state list should also enroll on the federal list; and (3) where the laws differ, which law controls.
Both the federal “Do Not Call” list and the state “No Sales Solicitation Calls” lists allow consumers to enroll on a list. Once enrolled, they prohibit telemarketers from calling. Both laws exempt categories of telemarketers.
The telemarketers exempted by the federal list are different than those exempted by the state list. Most notably, the federal list does not apply to any industry that is not within the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) jurisdiction. This means that airlines, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies, among others, are exempt.
A consumer can enroll on both lists. In fact, someone enrolled on the state list will be automatically enrolled on the federal list, according to the FTC’s website. Being enrolled on both gives a consumer the greatest reduction in telemarketer calls. The FTC has a feature that allows a consumer to verify whether his telephone number has been properly included on the list.
The federal regulation includes a provision that apparently means that the federal law does not preempt state law and that both laws may be enforced.
CONNECTICUT’S “NO SALES SOLICITATION CALLS” LIST
Connecticut’s “Do Not Call” list prohibits, with certain exemptions, solicitors from making, or causing to be made, unsolicited sales calls to consumers who have registered their wish not to receive them with a state "No Sales Solicitation Calls" list.
The law exempts calls made or sent (1) with the consumer's prior express written or verbal permission; (2) by a tax-exempt nonprofit organization; (3) in response to a consumer’s visit to an establishment with a fixed location that sells, leases, or exchanges consumer goods or services; (4) in response to an express written or verbal request of the person called; (5) primarily in connection with an existing debt or contract that has not been paid or performed; (6) to an existing customer, unless the customer has informed the solicitor that he no longer wishes to receive the solicitor’s calls; (7) from a business that began to do business in this state on or after January 1, 2001, that has operated in this state for less than one year; and (8) by telephone companies, compiling their own directories (CGS § 42-288a).
FEDERAL “DO NOT CALL” LIST
The FTC recently established a national “Do Not Call” list. The law prohibits, with certain exceptions, telemarketers from calling someone whose telephone number is on the FTC “Do Not Call” list. The law exempts (1) businesses that are not within the FTC’s jurisdiction, such as airlines, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies, among others; (2) political organizations; (3) charities; (4) telephone surveyors; and (5) businesses that have an established business relationship with the consumer. FTC regulations define “established business relationship” in a way that allows a business to call for up to 18 months after a consumer’s last purchase, payment, or delivery (16 CFR Part 310).
ENROLLING ON STATE AND FEDERAL LISTS
A consumer wishing to reduce telemarketing calls benefits the most by being on both lists. A business exempted by the federal list must comply with the state law. A consumer who enrolls on the state list will have his telephone number automatically added to the FTC list because Connecticut will transfer the telephone numbers on the state list to the FTC’s list, according to the FTC. A consumer can enroll on the state list by making a toll-free telephone call to DCP (1-800-842-2649) or by visiting its website (http: //www. state. ct. us/dcp/). A consumer can verify whether his telephone number was transferred properly to the federal list or enroll on it by making a toll-free call to the FTC (1-888-382-1222) or by going to its website (http: //www. donotcall. gov/). If calling, the call must be made from the telephone to be listed. Anyone enrolling over the Internet must respond to an e-mail sent by the FTC within 72 hours to validate enrollment.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO LAWS
The federal regulation states that it does not “prohibit any attorney general or other authorized state official from proceeding in state court on the basis of an alleged violation of any [state] civil or criminal statute” (16 CFR § 310. 7). This apparently means that the federal law does not preempt state law.