Minnesota Telemarketing Fraud Laws
They always seem to call right in the middle of dinner, don't they? It feels like telemarketers know exactly when and how to annoy us the most. But these calls aren't just a hassle - they can be costly as well. So how does the North Star State regulate telemarketers to make sure they're telling the truth and won't abuse our personal information? Here's a brief introduction to telemarketing fraud laws in Minnesota.
Statutes Regulating Telemarketing
Because most telemarketing calls are placed across state lines, telemarketing fraud as a crime is generally prosecuted at the federal level. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting interstate telemarketing fraud. In the interest of protecting its citizen consumers, Minnesota, like many other states, enforces its own telemarketing fraud laws as well. Minnesota's Attorney General's Office investigates telemarketing fraud within the state and enforces the state's telemarketing regulations.
Minnesota Telemarketing Fraud Statutes
Telemarketing laws in Minnesota main are highlighted in the chart below.
What Is Required or Prohibited?
Telemarketers cannot use an automatic dialing-announcing device unless:
(1) the subscriber has knowingly or voluntarily requested, consented to, permitted, or authorized receipt of the message; or
(2) the message is immediately preceded by a live operator who obtains the subscriber's consent before the message is delivered.
Telemarketers cannot use an automatic dialing-announcing device nor make any commercial telephone solicitation before 9:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
The Minnesota Attorney General is entitled, on behalf of the state;
(a) to sue for and have injunctive relief in any court of competent jurisdiction against any such violation or threatened violation without abridging the penalties provided by law; and
(b) to sue for and recover for the state, from any person who is found to have violated any of the laws referred to in subdivision 1, a civil penalty, in an amount to be determined by the court, not in excess of $25,000.
Any person injured by a violation of telemarketing may bring a civil action and recover damages, together with costs and disbursements, including costs of investigation and reasonable attorney's fees, and receive other equitable relief as determined by the court. The court may, as appropriate, enter a consent judgment or decree without the finding of illegality.
Protecting Yourself from Telemarketing Fraud
There are several preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from telemarketing fraud:
- Don't rush into buying anything by telephone;
- Don't give out personal information like Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers to any unsolicited caller;
- Be wary if a caller wants you to pay over the phone by check or wire transfer;
- Ask for a written contract, the cancellation policy, and the contact information of the telemarketer and company he or she represents, as required by Minnesota law;
- Register for the National Do Not Call list online or call 1-888-382-1222; or
- Contact Minnesota Consumer Protection at (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787.
Minnesota Telemarketing Fraud Laws: Related Resources
Telephone solicitations can be a pain, and the laws that cover them aren't always the easiest to understand. You can contact a Minnesota consumer protection attorney if you would like legal assistance with a telemarketing matter. You can also find more information and resources on this topic in FindLaw's Consumer Protection section.
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