• February 2, 2024
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

West Virginia Is the Latest State to Weigh Telemarketing Restrictions

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The state legislature in West Virginia is currently considering two proposed bills that, if approved, would crack down on unwanted telemarketing calls.

If passed into law, these two bills, which were introduced in late January, would target phone companies that permit telemarketing without offering a callback option, hold companies responsible for using untraceable numbers, restrict open calling hours, and more.

The first bill (HB4886) is directed at phone companies that “knowingly allow telemarking campaigns to use United States or West Virginia-based phone numbers but provide no callback option using that phone number.”  The phone companies that violate this law could face $1,000 fines.

The next bill (SB500) would amend existing consumer protection restrictions with new definitions, a limited list of exemptions, and new prohibitions.

In the definition of "prior express written consent" the legislation would add the word or, so the statute refers to "telephone solicitation using an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers." It would also amend the term "established business relationship" to include communication that is initially intended for information or based on further inquiry from the customer. It, too, adds caller ID requirements, restricts call time to between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., limits the number of call attempts for telephone solicitations on the same subject or issue to no more than three within 24 hours, and prohibits callers from altering or disguising their voices and seeking to obtain personal information from the called party that may be used in a fraudulent or unlawful manner.

"Like other recent state laws, [the West Virginia proposals] introduce several intricacies for automated compliance tools. Key features include stricter consent requirements, limitations on autodialed and prerecorded calls, and potential liability for call spoofing," says Mark McKinney, vice president of market intelligence and innovation at Gryphon.ai. "This necessitates more sophisticated compliance tools that can handle complex consent management, identify and block spoofed calls, and ensure adherence to specific call time restrictions. Navigating these intricacies necessitates proactive updates and ongoing monitoring within automated dialing systems, adding a layer of complexity for telemarketers operating in West Virginia." 

Stefan Dunigan, vice president of opeartions, cautions that with these new proposales, "Non-compliance is not an option for industry due to costly fines and penalties and the potential for irreputable brand damage for any violation. As a result, companies of all sizes must centralize their Do Not Contact, TCPA, and other regulatory compliance efforts and take an automated platform-based approach to the shifting regulatory landscape while being able to provide evidence of compliance through a full audit history of their outreach efforts."

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