South Carolina General Assembly
112th Session, 1997-1998

Bill 3724

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

                    Current Status

Bill Number:                       3724
Type of Legislation:               General Bill GB
Introducing Body:                  House
Introduced Date:                   19970326
Primary Sponsor:                   Hodges 
All Sponsors:                      Hodges 
Drafted Document Number:           pt\1083mm.97
Residing Body:                     House
Current Committee:                 Labor, Commerce and Industry
                                   Committee 26 HLCI
Subject:                           Telephone calls, unsolicited
                                   consumer; prohibited after six p.m.,
                                   Telemarketing-Free Time Zone Act,


Body    Date      Action Description                       Com     Leg Involved
______  ________  _______________________________________  _______ ____________
House   19970326  Introduced, read first time,             26 HLCI
                  referred to Committee

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(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)



Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Section 16-17-445 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 656 of 1988, is amended to read:

"Section 16-17-445. (A) This section is known as 'Telemarketing-Free Time Zone Act".

(A)(B) As used in this section:

(1) 'Consumer telephone call' means a call made by a telephone solicitor for the purpose of soliciting a sale of any consumer goods or services to the person called, or for the purpose of soliciting an extension of credit for consumer goods or services to the person called, or for the purpose of obtaining information that will or may be used for the direct solicitation of a sale of consumer goods or services to the person called or an extension of credit for these purposes.

(2) 'Consumer goods or services' means any tangible personal property which is normally used for personal, family, financial, or household purposes, including any such property intended to be attached to or installed in any real property without regard to whether it is so attached or installed, as well as cemetery lots and interests in vacation timesharing plans or vacation ownership plans, and any services related to this property.

(3) 'Unsolicited consumer telephone call' means a consumer telephone call other than a call made:

(a) in response to an express request of the person called;

(b) primarily in connection with an existing debt or contract, payment, or performance of which has not been completed at the time of the call;

(c) to any a person with whom the telephone solicitor has an existing business relationship or has had a previous business relationship.

(4) 'Telephone solicitor' means any an individual, firm or organization, partnership, association, or corporation who makes or causes to be made a consumer telephone call.

(5) 'Department' means the Department of Consumer Affairs.

(B)(C) Any A telephone solicitor who makes an unsolicited consumer telephone call shall:

(1) identify himself and the business on whose behalf he is soliciting immediately upon making contact by telephone with the person who is the object of the telephone solicitation; and

(2) within thirty seconds after beginning the conversation state the purpose of the call, allow the person called the opportunity to respond, and, if the response is negative, discontinue the call; and

(3) remove the called party's name and telephone number from in-house calling lists if the called party asks the solicitor not to call again.

(C)(D) Unsolicited consumer telephone calls are prohibited after nine six o'clock p.m. or before eight o'clock a.m. on any day.

(D)(E) Unsolicited calls must disclose to the buyer at the time of solicitations:

(1) cost of merchandise or method of estimation;

(2) payment plan; and

(3) extra or special charges such as shipping, handling, and taxes.

(E)(F) Every telephone solicitor operating in this State who makes unsolicited consumer telephone calls shall implement in-house systems and procedures whereby to make every effort is made not to call subscribers who ask not to be called again. The department has the authority to monitor compliance with this provision. A person or his agent having an interest in a vacation ownership plan or vacation timesharing plan may have the unit telephone number removed from a solicitor's in-house calling lists by sending written notification to the solicitor.

(F)(G) The department shall investigate any complaints received concerning violations of this section. If the department finds that there has been a violation of this section, it may impose a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars for a first violation, two hundred dollars for a second violation, and one thousand dollars for a third or subsequent violation, and may seek other relief, including injunctive relief, as the court considers appropriate against the telephone solicitor. In addition, any a person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction for a first or second offense, must be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, and for a third or subsequent offense must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days. Each violation constitutes a separate offense for purposes of the civil and criminal penalties of this section.

(G)(H) Telephone companies are not responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this section, and are not liable for any error errors or omission omissions in the listings made pursuant hereto to this section."

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.