A new law should 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.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the legislation into law this week.
“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.
Maximum fine goes up to $20,000
The legislation, in addition to prohibiting unsolicited commercial text messages, increases the maximum fine for each registry violation from $11,000 to $20,000.
The law 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 “Do Not Call” registry, and how to obtain a complaint form from the state Department of Consumer Protection for any violations.
How to sign up
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 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.
Unsolicited messages can be costly
Malloy and others noted unsolicited text messages can cost those receiving them money.
“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,” Malloy said.
State Sen. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, co-chairman of the General Law Committee, said unsolicited text messages “are more than just a bother for consumers. 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.”
State Rep. Dan Carter of Bethel, ranking member of the General Law Committee, agreed. “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,” Carter said.