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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 18 TO TITLE 37 SO AS TO PROVIDE THE "DO NOT CALL REGISTRY" AUTHORIZING THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS TO ESTABLISH A DATABASE OF RESIDENTIAL TELEPHONE SUBSCRIBERS WHO OBJECT TO RECEIVING CERTAIN TELEPHONE SOLICITATIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE OPERATION OF THE DATABASE BY THE DEPARTMENT, TO PROVIDE FOR FEES TO BE CHARGED TO RESIDENTIAL TELEPHONE SUBSCRIBERS WHO APPLY TO BE INCLUDED IN THE DATABASE AND TO PERSONS OR ENTITIES ACCESSING THE DATABASE, TO PROVIDE THAT THE FEES BE USED TO MAINTAIN THE DATABASE, TO PROVIDE CIVIL PENALTIES FOR TELEPHONE SOLICITORS WHO CALL TELEPHONE NUMBERS ON THE REGISTRY MORE THAN ONCE IN A TWELVE-MONTH PERIOD, TO PROVIDE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT TELEPHONE CALLER IDENTIFICATION SERVICES ARE NOT LIABLE FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS CHAPTER AND TELEPHONE COMPANIES ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHAPTER'S ENFORCEMENT OR LIABLE FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE DATABASE; TO AMEND SECTION 30-4-40, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO MATTERS EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, SO AS TO ADD THE DATABASE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER; AND TO AMEND SECTION 16-17-445, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF UNSOLICITED CONSUMER TELEPHONE CALLS, SO AS TO REFERENCE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS CHAPTER.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 37 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 37-18-10. This chapter may be cited as the 'South Carolina Do Not Call Registry Act of 2003'.
Section 37-18-20. As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Caller identification service' means a type of telephone service that permits telephone subscribers to see the telephone number of incoming telephone calls.
(2) 'Department' means the Department of Consumer Affairs.
(3) 'Residential subscriber' means a person who subscribes to residential telephone service from a local exchange company or the other persons living or residing with this person.
(4) 'Telephone solicitation' means a voice communication over
a telephone line by a live operator or through the use of ADAD equipment as defined in Section 16-17-446 for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, but does not include communications made:
(a) in response to an express request of the residential subscriber;
(b) primarily in connection with an existing debt or contract, payment, or performance that has not been completed at the time of the call;
(c) by or on behalf of a person or entity with whom a residential subscriber has a previous or current business or personal relationship; or
(d) by or on behalf of a charitable organization which has filed a registration statement pursuant to Chapter 56, Title 33.
Section 37-18-30. (A) The department shall establish and operate a database that is a registry of telephone numbers of residential subscribers who object to receiving telephone solicitations. The department shall have this database in operation no later than July 1, 2004.
(B) No later than January 1, 2004, the department shall promulgate regulations that:
(1) require each local exchange company to inform its residential subscribers of the opportunity to provide notification to the department that the subscriber objects to receiving telephone solicitations;
(2) specify the methods by which each residential subscriber may give notice to the department of the subscriber's objection to receiving the solicitations or the subscriber's revocation of the notice;
(3) specify the length of time for which a notice of objection is effective and the effect of a change of telephone number on the notice;
(4) specify the methods by which the objections and revocations are collected and added to the database;
(5) specify the methods by which a person or entity desiring to make telephone solicitations shall obtain access to the database as required to avoid calling the telephone numbers of residential subscribers included in the database; and
(6) specify other matters relating to the database that the department considers desirable.
(C) If, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. Section 227(c)(3), the Federal Communications Commission establishes a single national database of telephone numbers of subscribers who object to receiving telephone solicitations, the department shall provide the database established by this chapter as this state's part of the national database.
(D) The department shall charge a residential subscriber a fee of five dollars for each telephone number included in the database established pursuant to this chapter. A person or entity desiring to make telephone solicitations shall pay a fee of one hundred dollars to the department each year for access to, or for paper or electronic copies of, the database established pursuant to this chapter.
(E) Fees collected by the department must be credited to the state's general fund for the use of the department in maintaining the database.
(F) Information contained in the database established pursuant to this chapter may be used only for the purpose of compliance with this chapter or in a proceeding or action brought pursuant to this chapter. The information in the database is not subject to public inspection or disclosure pursuant to Section 30-4-40.
Section 37-18-40. A person or entity may not make or cause to be made a telephone solicitation to the telephone line of a residential subscriber in this State who has given notice to the department of the subscriber's objection to receiving telephone solicitations.
Section 37-18-50. (A) A person or entity who makes a telephone solicitation to the telephone line of a residential subscriber in this State shall state clearly, at the beginning of the call, the identity of the person or entity initiating the call.
(B) A person or entity who makes a telephone solicitation to the telephone line of a residential subscriber in this State may not utilize knowingly a method to block or otherwise circumvent the subscriber's use of a caller identification service.
Section 37-18-60. (A) The department may initiate proceedings related to a knowing violation or threatened knowing violation of Section 37-18-40 or 37-18-50. The proceedings include, without limitation, ones to:
(1) issue a cease and desist order;
(2) issue an order imposing a civil penalty up to a maximum of two thousand dollars for each knowing violation; and
(3) seek additional relief in the circuit court.
(B) The actions must be brought in the name of the State. The department may issue investigative demands, issue subpoenas, administer oaths, and conduct hearings in the course of investigating violations of Section 37-18-40 or 37-18-50.
Section 37-18-70. A person who receives more than one telephone solicitation within a twelve-month period by or on behalf of the same person or entity in violation of Section 37-18-40 or 37-18-50 may bring:
(1) an action to enjoin the violation;
(2) an action to recover actual monetary loss from the knowing violation and attorney's fees or to receive up to two thousand dollars in damages for each knowing violation and attorney's fees, whichever is greater; or
(3) both actions.
Section 37-18-80. It is a defense in any action or proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter that the defendant has established and implemented, with due care, reasonable practices and procedures to prevent effectively telephone solicitations in violation of this chapter.
Section 37-18-90. An action or proceeding may not be brought pursuant to this chapter more than two years after the:
(1) person bringing the action knew or should have known of the occurrence of the alleged violation; or
(2) termination of any proceeding or action by the State, whichever is later.
Section 37-18-100. A court of this State may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident or his personal representative or administrator in an action or proceeding authorized by this chapter.
Section 37-18-110. The remedies, duties, prohibitions, and penalties of this chapter are not exclusive and are in addition to all other causes of action, remedies, and penalties provided by law.
Section 37-18-120. (A) A provider of telephone caller identification service is not liable for violations of this chapter committed by other persons or entities.
(B) Telephone companies are not responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and are not liable for an error or omission in the database made pursuant to this chapter."
SECTION 2. Section 30-4-40(a) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 350 of 2002, is further amended by adding an appropriately numbered item at the end to read:
"( ) The 'Do Not Call Registry' database established by Chapter 18 of Title 37."
SECTION 3. Section 16-17-445(E) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 408 of 2000, is further amended to read:
"(E) Each telephone solicitor operating in this State who makes unsolicited consumer telephone calls shall implement in-house systems and procedures
whereby in which every effort is made not to call subscribers who ask not to be called again. Each telephone solicitor shall use the Do Not Call Registry established pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 37. The department has the authority to may monitor compliance with this provision these provisions. A person or his agent who has 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."
SECTION 4. Upon approval by the Governor, this act takes effect July 1, 2003.
This web page was last updated on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 9:32 A.M.