DOJ: News Release

McGrath, Morrison Announce No-Call Legislation

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath and State Auditor John Morrison on Monday released a legislative proposal to establish a “no-call” consumer protection program related to telephone solicitations. The program would allow Montanans to register their phone numbers with the attorney general and thereby limit telephone solicitations. The legislation will be introduced in the forthcoming session of the Montana Legislature by Rep. Larry Jent (D-Bozeman) and Sen. Don Ryan (D-Great Falls).

“The no-call list makes it easy for Montanans to do something about the constant barrage of telemarketing calls,” Morrison said in a press conference Monday at the Capitol. “We have a great opportunity to give folks the tool they need to protect themselves.”

“Any Montanan with a phone knows that telephone solicitations can be very annoying,” McGrath said. “This legislation is meant to reduce the number of these unwelcome, often intrusive calls.”

Here’s how the program would work under the proposed legislation:

  • Montanans would register their telephone numbers on a no-call list free of charge. The list would be updated regularly.
  • Telemarketers would be required to purchase the no-call list and refrain from calling the registered numbers.
  • Telemarketers who continued to call a no-call number would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation. The attorney general or a county attorney could pursue the penalty. Individual consumers could also pursue relief up to $5,000.

The legislation is aimed specifically at calls that try to sell property, goods or services. It does not prohibit all telephone solicitations. Excluded callers would include:

  • Telemarketers who have been invited or permitted to contact the consumer.
  • Telemarketers with whom the consumer has had recent business contact.
  • Telemarketers who have an existing business or personal relationship with the consumer.
  • Callers engaged in fundraising for a legitimate tax-exempt charity, provided a member of the organization is making the call.
  • Callers calling on behalf of entities that are governed by certain federal and state regulations, like insurance companies or a brokerage firm.
  • Callers calling on behalf of a candidate for office or his or her campaign, or on behalf of a ballot measure.

Morrison said the program would be self-funded, paying for itself through the fees paid by telemarketers. It would be free to consumers.

“Some states with similar programs require a consumer to pay a fee to register a phone number,” McGrath said. “At this time, that is simply not a consideration. We are committed to keeping this program free to Montana consumers.”

Share this!

Subscribe to our RSS feed. Tweet this! StumbleUpon Reddit Digg This! Bookmark on Delicious Share on Facebook