HB1501 Regulates telemarketing and establishes a no-call telemarketing database in the Office of the Secretary of State. database in the Office of the Secretary of State.
Sponsor: Gaw, Steve (22) Effective Date:00/00/0000
CoSponsor: Kreider, Jim (142) LR Number: 2474L.03I
Last Action: This Bill is a Substitute - Check Primary Bill HB1172
SCS HS HCS HB 1172, 1501, 1633, 1440, 1634, 1177 & 1430
Next Hearing:Hearing not scheduled
Calendar:Bill currently not on calendar
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Available Bill Summaries for HB1501 Copyright(c)
* Introduced

Available Bill Text for HB1501
* Introduced *

BILL SUMMARIES

INTRODUCED

HB 1501 -- Telemarketing

Co-Sponsors:  Gaw, Kreider, Wilson (42), Backer, Williams (159),
Campbell, Boucher, Boykins

This bill creates a statewide no-call database housed in the
Secretary of State's office and regulates telemarketing
practices.

STATEWIDE NO-CALL DATABASE

The no-call database will list residential subscribers who
object to receiving telephone solicitations.  The Secretary of
State will establish a toll-free number for residential
subscribers to call in order to be included in the database.
The database will be operated by the Secretary of State or
another entity contracting with the Secretary of State to do
so.  Public service advertisements to promote the database and
toll-free number will be contracted for by the Secretary of
State.

The bill authorizes the Secretary of State to make rules,
including the following:

(1)  Requiring each local exchange telecommunications company to
inform its residential subscribers of the opportunity to be
listed in the database and to provide the toll-free number;

(2)  Specifying methods by which residential subscribers can
give or revoke notice to the Secretary of State's office
regarding their objections to receiving telephone solicitations;

(3)  Specifying the length of time for which the objection will
be effective and the effect of a change of telephone number;

(4)  Specifying the methods by which objections and revocations
will be collected and added to the database;

(5)  Specifying the methods by which persons wanting to make
telephone solicitations will obtain access to the database; and

(6)  Establishing a fee for access to or copies of the database.

The information in the database will not be subject to laws
pertaining to open records.  In the case of the establishment of
a national database, as authorized by federal law, the Secretary
of State will include the database in that national one.

The bill prohibits making telephone solicitations to any
residential subscriber who has given notice to the Secretary of
State that he or she objects to receiving telephone
solicitations.  The Attorney General is authorized to initiate
proceedings for any knowing violation or threatened knowing
violation of this prohibition.  The Attorney General may, in the
name of the state, issue a cease and desist order, impose a
civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each knowing violation, and
seek additional relief.

Any residential subscriber who has given notice to the Secretary
of State's office and receives more than one telephone
solicitation in any 12-month period from the same person or
entity may bring an action to enjoin the violation and to
recover actual or monetary loss from the violation or up to
$2,000 in damages for each violation, whichever is greater.  The
bill prohibits any action or proceeding after more than 2 years
have passed since the violation occurred or after more than 2
years after the termination of any proceeding or action by the
state, whichever is later.  A court of the state is authorized
to exercise personal jurisdiction over any nonresident as to an
action related to a violation.  The bill provides a defense in
any action or proceeding that the defendant has established and
implemented, with due care, reasonable practices and procedures
to effectively prevent such violations.

The bill requires the Public Service Commission to make rules
regarding the advertisement and sale of merchandise through
telemarketing by a telecommunications company.  The rules must
be effective January 1, 2001, and must not be inconsistent with
Federal Communications Commission rules on telemarketing.

Exempt are communications made by persons to whom residential
subscribers have given prior express invitation, by persons with
whom the residential subscriber has a prior or current business
or personal relationship, and by charitable organizations.

TELEMARKETING PRACTICES

Telemarketers must provide certain identifying information
specified in the bill when contacting a consumer.  Unlawful
practices include requesting a fee to remove derogatory
information from a person's credit history or record, knowingly
calling persons who have previously stated that they do not want
to receive telemarketing calls from that seller or subscribers
to the no-call database established by the bill, and
misrepresenting material aspects about the merchandise being
offered for sale.  Also prohibited is abusive conduct by
telemarketers, such as the use of obscene language,
intimidation, and harassment.

The bill allows consumers to give certain forms of written or
oral authorization for payment from their checking or savings
accounts.  Telemarketers are required to maintain certain
records for 24 months, such as verifiable authorizations,
brochures, and the names and addresses of recipients of prizes
with a value of $25 or more.

Any knowing and willful violation of the bill's provisions
constitutes a class D felony.  Consumers who have suffered a
loss or harm due to violations of the bill's provisions will
recover actual and punitive damages, attorney's fees, court
costs, and other lawful remedies.  A person who violates a
second time the prohibition of calling subscribers to the no--
call database will be punished by the term of years for a class
D felony and a fine of up to $5,000 or 3 times the gain with no
limit on the amount recoverable.  Any consumer who suffers a
loss or harm as a result of prohibited telemarketing acts will
recover actual and punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees,
court costs, and any other remedies provided by law.

The following are exempted from the telemarketing requirements
of the bill:

(1)  Telephone calls where the sale of goods or services is not
completed and payment is not required until after a face-to-face
sales presentation by the telemarketer;

(2)  Telephone calls initiated by the customer that are not the
result of any advertisement by a seller or telemarketer, in
response to advertisements, direct mail solicitations, or
catalog mailings;

(3)  Telephone calls or messages to persons who have given prior
express permission to be called, calls to persons with whom the
caller has an established business relationship, or calls made
by a tax-exempt nonprofit organization; and

(4)  Any entity or industry regulated by the Missouri Public
Service Commission.


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