CCS HCS SS SCS SB 763 -- TELEMARKETING

This bill regulates certain telemarketing practices. In its major provisions, the bill:

(1) Adds institutions or companies under the Division of Credit Unions to the entities that are exempted from the fraudulent telemarketing provisions (Section 407.020, RSMo);

(2) Provides definitions for "consumer," "telemarketer," and "established business relationship" (Section 407.1070);

(3) Requires telemarketers to disclose certain information to consumers upon making a solicitation (Section 407.1073);

(4) Prohibits telemarketers from misrepresenting material facts, threatening or abusing consumers, and contacting consumers at unreasonable times (Section 407.1076);

(5) Requires telemarketers to keep records of advertising and scripts, prize winners, merchandise purchases, and names and addresses of employees for 2 years (Section 407.1079);

(6) Provides criminal and civil penalties for violations, including actual and punitive damages (Section 407.1082);

(7) Directs telemarketing complaints to the Office of the Attorney General, which must either handle the investigation or forward the complaints to the appropriate licensing agencies (Section 407.1085);

(8) Prohibits telemarketers from soliciting consumers who have given notice to the Attorney General of their objection to telephone solicitation (Section 407.1098);

(9) Requires the Attorney General to establish and operate a database of consumers who object to receiving telephone solicitations by July 1, 2001 (Section 407.1101);

(10) Requires telephone solicitors to state their identity and prohibits their blocking of caller identification services (Section 407.1107);

(11) Allows the Attorney General to investigate and initiate proceedings against violators with penalties of up to $5,000. Consumers who have received more than one illegal solicitation within one year may seek an injunction and damages. There is a 2-year statute of limitations (Section 407.1110);

(12) Allows the Attorney General to establish an advisory group to help consumers understand their rights by January 1, 2001 (Section 407.1113);

(13) Establishes regulations of electronic mail (e-mail) messages that prohibit the transmission of certain unsolicited e-mail advertisements without a toll-free telephone number or sender e-mail address. Penalties include civil damages and criminal penalties (Sections 407.1300, 407.1310, 407.1320, 407.1330, and 407.1340); and

(14) Requires certain entities that solicit contributions by telephone to disclose the percentage of contributions that go to the soliciting organization (Section 1).