|Rep. David Baram, House chairman of the legislature's General Law Committee, announced Thursday that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed into law a bill Baram introduced that will reduce unwanted, unsolicited commercial phone intrusions by modernizing the state's Do Not Call Registry to include text messages in addition to the already prohibited phone calls.|
“This is a great consumer law that strengthens the protections afforded under the existing registry,” said Baram (D-Bloomfield, Windsor).
“The law will allow residents to avoid unwanted commercial text advertisements in addition to commercial telephone solicitations. As technology evolved allowing commercial solicitations on cell phones, it was logical to amend the law to allow consumers the right to avoid such marketing,” Baram said.
“The Do Not Call Registry provides consumers with protection and privacy from unwanted telemarketing calls, and as technology evolves we must update it to ensure these consumer rights,” Malloy said. “In addition to being an annoyance, some cell phone plans charge a fee for each text message received, whether that message was wanted or not. This new law strengthens these consumer protections by banning unsolicited commercial text messages and increasing the penalty for these types of violations.”
In addition to prohibiting unsolicited commercial text messages, the legislation increases the maximum fine for each registry violation from $11,000 to $20,000. It also requires all companies that issue account statements for cellular phones, telephones and mobile devices to print a conspicuous notice at least twice each year that informs consumers of prohibited actions by solicitors, how to place their numbers on the registry, and how to obtain a complaint form from the Department of Consumer Protection for any violations.
“Unsolicited text messages are more than just a bother for consumers,” said Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield), Senate chairman of the General Law Committee. “They can also cost people a lot of money. Providing Connecticut consumers with the necessary safeguards will go a long way in keeping the public protected from a new generation of marketing.”
“Robocalls and unsolicited phone messages are a nuisance to residents, who should be able to expect reasonable restrictions on telemarketing and meaningful penalties for violations,” said Rep. Dan Carter (R-Bethel), ranking member of the General Law Committee. “This measure is a step in the right direction as we seek to prevent aggressive sales tactics that can border on harassment as technology expands our channels of communication.”
The Do Not Call Registry gives consumers a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls. To register a phone number, consumers should visit www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
The legislation is Public Act 14-53, An Act Prohibiting Unsolicited Commercial Text Messages and Increasing Penalties for Violations of the Do Not Call Registry.