Action Line: 'Do not call' law has its limits for consumers
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Sunday, January 13, 2013
1/13/13 at 3:56 AM
Dear Action Line: I thought the "Do not call" list meant telemarketers were required to buy the list and to not call anyone on it. I received many calls on a phone number I registered with the "do not call list," and as they were from "unknown," never answered them. I filed a complaint with the Oklahoma Attorney General's office, and his reply was, "Telemarketers are not in violation of the law just for making the calls." So it appears the "do not call" list is not what we thought it was. What's your take on this? - C.S., Tulsa.
All these years we assumed the Oklahoma Telemarketer Restriction Act prohibited telemarketers from "making telemarketing calls" to Oklahomans registered on the Do Not Call list, not realizing call recipients had to actually hear the sales pitches being made over their phones and also be able to identify the numbers they came from.
Telemarketers are required to buy the list every three months and remove the included numbers from their calling lists. But for the Oklahoma law to be applicable, residents must be witnesses to such violations and be willing to go to court, if such violations ever are pursued.
The response you received from the Attorney General's office begins, "Thank you for contacting our office. The Don't Call Law concerns telemarketers who call phone numbers listed on the Don't Call Registry and attempt to sell something over the phone. If you did not speak with anyone, or they did not leave a message attempting to sell you something, they have not violated the Don't Call Law. We can enforce the law only as it is written. We must have the evidence of who they were, their telephone number, what they were trying to sell and what was said in the course of the conversation to have a valid complaint." - the Don't Call Complaint Database.
The Oklahoma Telemarketer Restriction Act - Title 15 Section 775B, paragraphs 1 through 7 - states, "No telemarketer shall make or cause to be made any unsolicited telemarketing sales call or messages, including cellular telephone text messages, to consumers more than thirty 30 days after their telephone numbers first appeared on the registry - made available by the attorney general, pursuant to the Act.
"Willful violations shall be unlawful telemarketing practices and violations of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act; provided calls to consumers with whom callers have established business relationships, or calls or cellular telephone text messages, to consumers whose numbers have been removed from the registry; shall not be violations.
"Persons found to be in violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act in a civil actions or who willfully violate the terms of injunctions or court orders issued pursuant to the Consumer Protection Act shall forfeit and pay civil penalties of not more than $10,000 per violation, in addition to other penalties that may be imposed by the courts. District courts issuing injunctions shall retain jurisdiction, and in such cases, the attorneys general acting in the name of the state, or district attorneys, may petition for recovery of civil penalties."
Original Print Headline: 'Do not call' law has its limits for consumers
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