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Sponsors: Senators Martin, Sheheen, Thomas, Courson, Malloy and Vaughn
Document Path: l:\s-res\lam\044dono.dag.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 4591
Introduced in the Senate on January 23, 2008
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary
Summary: Unsolicited consumer telephone calls
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1/23/2008 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-11 1/23/2008 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-11 1/29/2008 Senate Referred to Subcommittee: Ritchie (ch), Rankin, Lourie, Scott, Ceips
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
TO AMEND SECTION 16-17-445 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO UNSOLICITED CONSUMER TELEPHONE CALLS, TO PROVIDE THAT A CONSUMER TELEPHONE CALL INCLUDES CALLS OF A POLITICAL NATURE; AND TO AMEND SECTION 16-17-446, RELATING TO PROHIBITED AUTOMATICALLY DIALED ANNOUNCING DEVICE CALLS, TO INCLUDE CALLS MADE WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF A LIVE OPERATOR UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 16-17-445 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 16-17-445. (A) 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. A consumer telephone call includes calls of a political nature including, but not limited to, calls relating to political campaigns.
(2) "Consumer goods or services" means any tangible personal property which is normally used for personal, family, financial, or household purposes, including any 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. Services sold by institutions licensed and regulated under Title 38 are not consumer goods or services for purposes of this section.
(3) "Prize promotion" means:
(b) an oral or written representation that a person has won, has been selected to receive, or may be eligible to receive a prize or purported prize.
(4) "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; or
(c) to a person with whom the telephone solicitor has an existing business relationship or had a previous business relationship.
(5) "Telephone solicitor" means an individual, firm or organization, partnership, association, or corporation who makes or causes to be made a consumer telephone call.
(6) "Department" means the Department of Consumer Affairs.
(B) A telephone solicitor who makes an unsolicited consumer telephone call must disclose promptly and in a clear conspicuous manner to the person receiving the call, the following information:
(1) the identity of the seller;
(2) that the purpose of the call is to sell goods or services, or solicit the support of a political candidate or political campaign;
(3) the nature of the goods or services;
(4) that no purchase or payment is necessary to be able to win a prize or participate in a prize promotion if a prize promotion is offered. This disclosure must be made before or in conjunction with the description of the prize to the person called. If requested by that person, the telemarketer must disclose the no purchase/no payment entry method for the prize promotion; and
(5) remove the called party's name and telephone number from in-house calling lists if the called party asks the solicitor, whether verbally or in writing, not to call again. If the called party prefers to make his request in writing, then the telephone solicitor must immediately provide the called party with the appropriate address to send and make effective his written request to be removed from the in-house calling lists.
(C) Unsolicited consumer telephone calls are prohibited after nine o'clock p.m. or before eight o'clock a.m. on any day.
(D) 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) Every telephone solicitor operating in this State who makes unsolicited consumer telephone calls shall implement in-house systems and procedures whereby 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 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.
(F) The department shall investigate any complaints received concerning violations of this section. If the department has reason to believe that there has been a violation of this section, it may request a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Court to 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. The department may also bring a civil action in the Court of Common Pleas seeking other relief, including injunctive relief, as the court considers appropriate against the telephone solicitor. In addition, a person who violates 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 in this section.
(G) Telephone companies are not responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this section and are not liable for any error or omission in the listings made pursuant to this section."
SECTION 2. Section 16-17-446(A) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(A) "Adad" means an automatically dialed announcing device which delivers a recorded message with or without assistance by a live operator for the purpose of making an unsolicited consumer telephone call as defined in Section 16-17-445(A)(3). Adad calls include automatically announced calls of a political nature including, but not limited to, calls relating to political campaigns."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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