Virginia Amends Telemarketing Laws Effective July 1

by | May 22, 2020 | Compliance Blog Posts | 0 comments

Amendments to telemarketing laws will take place in Virginia on July 1, 2020 that address four topics; the definition of a “telephone solicitation call,” caller identification, the private right of action, and Attorney General enforcement.

Amendments to Virginia Telemarketing Laws

Regarding the telephone solicitation call, the amendments clarify that “a telephone solicitation call” includes text messages as well as landline and wireless numbers. Specifically, the Act will apply to calls and text to any number with a Virginia area code – regardless of whether the number belongs to a consumer or business. Doing so, this could introduce more vulnerability for Do-Not-Call violations for B2B calls.

Additionally, these changes will apply to numbers with non-Virginia area codes that are registered as a resident of Virginia. Identifying state of residence is a difficult task and relying on area code alone will no longer be enough.

The second topic covered by the amendments, caller identification, will now prohibit solicitors from “engaging in any conduct that results in the display of false or misleading information.” Solicitors will be able to display the name and phone number of the person or business on whose behalf the call or text is being made, but only if the number is a business’ customer service number. These changes will further introduce liability for businesses, especially those that contract with third-party providers.

Next, the amendments will increase the damages an individual may receive for violation of the Private Right of Action Act. For the existing Do-Not-Call and abandonment provisions, as well as the new caller identification provisions, violations will increase to $500 for a first violation, $1,000 for a second violation, and $5,000 for a third violation – whereas each violation is $500 under current law.

Finally, the amendments will increase the penalties that the Attorney General can seek for aggrieved individuals. Also $500 under current law, penalties will be $500 for a first violation, $1,000 for a second violation, and $5,000 for a third violation. The court may also pursue up to $5,000 in civil penalties for each willful violation of the Act.

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