Washington State enacts new robocall law
Another state has enacted new legislation to prevent illegal robocalls. The law targets telephone solicitors and persons that assist with the origination or transmission of illegal calls, including service providers. Here’s an overview.
The Robocall Spam Protection Act
Washington State House Bill 1051 was introduced by State Representative Mari Leavitt. Governor Jay Inslee signed the legislation on April 20, 2023. The law becomes effective on July 23, 2023.
The legislation expands on existing provisions in Washington state law to prohibit abusive telephone communications that mislead or harm Washington residents.
The law extends liability for violations to those persons who provide substantial assistance or support to the origination and transmission of robocalls. This can include telecommunications service providers that originate, initiate, or transmit robocalls and know or consciously avoids knowing that the initiator of the communication is violating the provisions of this law.
- Solicitation calls can only be made between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the call recipient’s local time.
- Telephone solicitors must identify himself/herself, the company or organization, and the purpose of the call within the first 30 seconds of the call.
- If the solicitor is requesting a donation, s/he must ask the called party whether they wish to continue the call, end the call, or be removed from the solicitor’s telephone list.
- If the called party indicates they want to end the call, the solicitor must end the call within 10 seconds.
- If the called party indicates they do not want to be called again or wants his/her contact information removed from the solicitor’s telephone lists, the solicitor must tell the called party that his/her contact information will be removed for at least one year and end the call within 10 seconds.
The law provides an affirmative defense for a telecommunications provider that both:
- Acted in compliance with the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and TSR (Telemarketing Sales Rule) and
- Implemented a reasonably effective plan to mitigate the origination, initiation, or transmission of a commercial solicitation covered by the law.
- Telephone solicitations shall not be made to a telephone number on the Do-Not-Call Registry.
- Solicitors shall not transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
The attorney general may bring actions to enforce compliance with this law.
A person who is injured by violations of this law may bring a civil action and shall recover actual damages or $1,000 per violation, whichever is greater.
“Every time I think about this bill, I think of the countless families in my district and across the state that were threatened and scammed by these robocalls—all while the technology to prevent it existed,” said Rep. Leavitt. “Washington has an obligation to protect those most vulnerable to these scams.”
These are just the highlights. For complete details, see Washington House Bill 1051.
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