By LAWRENCE WILSON
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Washingtonians will have an added layer of protection against unwanted telephone solicitation thanks to changes to state law taking effect June 9.
The alterations, which govern the behavior of marketing callers, come on the heels of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s campaign against illegal automated marketing calls in the state.
In February 2022, the Federal Trade Commission received 6,075 complaints from Washingtonians regarding solicitations by phone. Key provisions of the changed law will make it easier for consumers to recognize and terminate those calls.
Among other provisions, the law redefines telephone solicitation as a call made to a “person” rather than to a “residential telephone customer.”
Also, telemarketers will be required to identify themselves, the company they represent, and the purpose of the call within the first 30 seconds. They must also terminate the call within 10 seconds if a recipient asks for the call to end.
Telemarketing calls will not be allowed after 8:00 pm or before 8:00 am in the recipients’ time zone.
When consumers request that they not be called in the future, telemarketers must inform them that their contact information will be removed from the call list for at least one year, end the call within 10 seconds, and avoid making calls to “any telephone number associated with that party” for one year.
Earlier this year, Mr. Ferguson took several steps to crack down on illegal phone calls that use computerized auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages – better known as robocalls.
In March, Mr. Ferguson launched a new complaint form for reporting robocalls and a new website detailing how to recognize robocalls and other possible telemarketing scams, as well as methods for stopping robocalls.
In April the attorney general announced a partnership between Washington and the Federal Communications Commission to share information and cooperate in investigating unlawful phone calls that use computerized auto-dialers to deliver pre-recorded messages.
Over the last two years, the Attorney General’s office has shut down at least three robocallers responsible for nearly 15 million unwanted calls in Washington.
State law allows telemarketing calls when a consumer has made a transaction or inquiry with a seller. A transaction-based business relationship exception lasts for 12 months from the date of last purchase.