Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Suits Pending as Businesses Violate Missouri No-Call Laws

March 17, 2016
By Michelle Amodio - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Many states have Do Not Call laws that apply to residents of those states. According to the FCC (News - Alert), these laws will still apply when the state's rules are stricter than the national rules, and for three businesses, the law is about to come down hard. Lawsuits are pending for violating No-Call laws in the state of Missouri, and the Attorney General is seeking to right these wrongs for the state’s consumers who have been allegedly called illegally.

Lawn Pro Turf Maintenance, eDegree Advisors, and Nevada-based Courtesy Call have are all being pursued by Attorney General Chris Koster because all have called consumers who specifically requested not to be contacted. According to InfoZine, “telemarketers for eDegree Advisors called Missouri consumers on the No-Call list to solicit higher education enrollment.” Lawn Pro Turf Maintenance and its owners allegedly made tens of thousands of calls to Missouri consumers to sell lawn-care services.

According to local news, Koster is seeking up to $5,000 in penalties for each violation of the No-Call Law.

In 2011, Attorney General Chris Koster's office received more complaints about telemarketing than any other industry. The office received a whopping 22,225 complaints -- twice the number of all other complaints combined. That breaks down to about 89 complaints about telemarketers filed every working day.

Koster has noted that many of those complaints were about calls to cell phones. In 2012, the state was able to let residents register mobile numbers on the no-call list.

Telemarketers who have violated the law have paid more than $2 million in fines and civil penalties to Koster’s office since 2010.

Despite these egregious calls, consumers are still encouraged to put themselves on local do not call lists.

According to local laws, there is a lag-time between when a consumer registers for these lists and when telemarketers have to stop making contact. Missouri sends its updated no-call list to telemarketers on a quarterly basis. For the federal registry, telemarketers are given 31 days before they have to stop making contact once a name has been added to the registry.

Consumers do not have to re-register their phone number on either list. Once it’s on there, it stays there. The federal registry previously required people to re-enroll every five years, but that has since been changed.

This is a reminder to companies who employ telemarketers and rely on sales calls to conduct business – stay compliant or pay the price. It’s always a good idea to train employees of the current laws so your business is copacetic.

Telemarketing is regulated at the federal level by two statutes: the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) derives its regulatory authority from TCPA, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert)) is responsible for enforcing TSR.

Several states require telemarketers to obtain a permit or license to operate. Many of these states exempt certain calls or businesses based on what is being sold, who it is being sold to, or the fact that the business has another type of state license.