What is the Massachusetts Do Not Call Program?

Chapter 265 of the Acts of 2002, An Act Regulating Telemarketing Solicitation, creates the Massachusetts Do Not Call Program within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (Office). The Program requires list brokers who sell telephone sales lists and telemarketers who make unsolicited sales calls to register with the Office and subscribe to the quarterly updated Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers and list brokers must remove from their calling lists the residential telephone numbers of consumers who have requested not to be called. The law also places new restrictions on telemarketing calls.

How do I Register to Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry?

There are two ways to register to receive the quarterly updated Do Not Call Registry:

  1. On the internet: Register online at www.Mass.gov/donotcall. The website may be accessed 24 hours day, 7 days a week.
  2. By phone: Call the SUBSCRIPTION LINE toll-free (866) 339-1475.

How Much Does the Registration Cost?

The annual registration fee is $1,100. There is an additional $60 fee for CD-ROMs, and an additional $0.15 per page charge for paper copies of the list.

If you are paying by check, GovConnect's mailing address is:

First Data
PO Box 2086
Englewood, CO 80150-2086



In What format is the List Available?

The fastest and easiest format to receive the list is through an electronic download. Subscribers will receive a quarterly e-mail with the accompanying file. Subscribers may also request to receive the Do Not Call Registry by CD-ROM. A paper list can be made available. The list is compiled in telephone number order and contains the consumer's telephone number and last name.

When Do I Renew My Subscription?

Subscriptions are available on a calendar year basis. Regardless of when a subscriber registers, the subscription ends December 31 st of that year. Solicitors must renew their subscription to receive the next quarterly list. When a subscriber registers, they receive the then current cumulative Do Not Call Registry and the remaining lists issued that calendar year.

When is the Do Not Call Registry Published and How Often is it Updated?

The first Massachusetts Do Not Call Registry will be issued to subscribers in March 2003. Thereafter, it will be updated quarterly as indicated in the table below. Telephone solicitors and list brokers must remove the numbers of consumers on the Do Not Call Registry including new registrations from their call lists by the quarterly effective date.

Do Not Call Act Deadlines:

Consumers sign
up between:

Companies receive
the list:

Effective date
Unsolicited sales
calls must stop:

December 2- March 1*

March

April 1

March 2- June 1

June

July 1

June 2- September 1

September

October 1

September 2- December 1

December

January 1

*Consumer sign-up for the first list will begin on the effective date of the law, January 1, 2003.

What Happens When an Individual or Company Starts Doing Business After the First List Has Been Published?

A telephone solicitor may not make unsolicited sales calls to consumers on the list any time after the effective date of the first list that has been published (April 1, 2003). After that date, a solicitor or list broker must remove the then current list of names from its calling lists prior to making any sales calls or selling any telephone sales lists. As soon as the solicitor or list broker registers for the list, the subscriber will receive the most current updated list. If a solicitor or list broker begins doing business and does not remove names from its calling lists, legal action may be taken.

What if My Address or Other Registration Information Changes Mid-year?

Subscribers are required by law to inform the Do Not Call Program if any of their registration information including: names (business or individual), address, E-mail address, telephone number, and etc. changes. E-mail any changes to MASolicitorUpdate@firstdata.com.

What does the law require?

Telephone solicitors and list brokers must:

  • Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry
  • Remove consumer telephone numbers contained on the Registry from call lists quarterly.
  • Refrain from calling consumers whose numbers appear on the Do Not Call Registry.

Other requirements include the following:

  • Soliciting telephone calls cannot be made to any Massachusetts consumers (even those who are not on the registry) between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.;
  • Soliciting facsimile transmissions cannot be made at any time;
  • Telephone solicitations using recorded message devices cannot be made at any time;
  • Telemarketers cannot use devices to block their identity from the consumer;
  • Telemarketers must disclose, within the first minute of the sales call, identifying information, including the sales purpose of the call, the name of the telemarketer and the name of the ultimate seller, and an accurate and complete description of the goods or services being offered.
  • Telemarketers must disclose the following before any payment discussions: The total cost of the goods/services offered; Any limits on the purchase; The refund and return policy; and The material terms of any investment opportunity being offered, including the price, location and the non-guaranteed nature of the investment.

How Does the Law Define a Telephone Solicitor and Unsolicited Sales Call?

"Telephone solicitor", an individual, association, corporation, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company or other business entity, or a subsidiary or affiliate thereof, doing business in the commonwealth who makes or causes to be made a telephonic sales call.

"Unsolicited telephonic sales call", a telephonic sales call other than a call made: (i) in response to an express written or verbal request of the consumer called; (ii) primarily in connection with an existing debt or contract, payment or performance of which has not been completed at the time of the call; (iii) to an existing customer unless such customer has stated to the telephone solicitor that such customer no longer wishes to receive the telephonic sales calls of such telephone solicitor; or (iv) in which the sale of goods and services is not completed, and payment or authorization of payment is not required, until after a face-to-face sales presentation by the telephone solicitor or a meeting between the telephone solicitor and customer.

How Does the Law Apply to List Brokers?

A person who obtains the name, residential address or telephone number of a consumer from any source and compiles or republishes such information and sells or offers to sell such information for marketing or sales purposes must subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry and remove from such information the names, address and telephone numbers of any consumer whose telephone number appears on the Do Not Call Registry.

What Exemptions are There Under the Massachusetts Do Not Call Law?

Individuals and businesses making exempt calls are not required to subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry, although they are permitted to if they want to avoid disturbing consumers who have indicated they do not wish to receive telemarketing calls. The law provides the following exemptions and permits the following types of calls:

  • Noncommercial polls or surveys, e.g. political polls;
  • Calls made by tax-exempt non-profit organizations, e.g. universities and charities;
  • Calls made to consumers with that consumer's express permission;
  • Calls made to consumers in response to that consumer's visit to that company's fixed commercial location;
  • Telephone sales calls made primarily in connection with an existing contract or debt;
  • Telephone sales calls to an existing customer;
  • Telephone sales calls in the context of ongoing consumer sales when face-to-face presentations or meetings are prerequisites to payment are telephone calls that fall outside the covered purview of the banned solicitations above.

If you are an exempt company, you do not need to register to receive the list. For example, if you are an insurance company, you may continue to contact pre-existing customers without receiving the list. However, if you will be soliciting new customers without their permission, you will need to subscribe to the list.

Does the Law Cover Companies Outside of Massachusetts?

Yes. Any telemarketer or list broker using Massachusetts telephone numbers for solicitation purposes are covered by the law. Companies calling a telephone number in Massachusetts must comply with all other consumer protection laws as well.

What Restrictions are There on the Use of the List?

Subscribers will receive the consumer's residential telephone number and last name. This information is protected from general disclosure and inspection or for use for any other purpose. Telephone solicitors must use the list solely for the purpose of the Do Not Call program.

Can a Telephone Solicitor Make Copies of the Do Not Call list?

No. Copies of the list may not be made. Each separate legal entity needs to buy a copy of the list. Any business that wants to obtain a copy of the list may do so and pay the appropriate fee.

What are the Penalties for Violating the Do Not Call Registry?

Anyone who violates the provisions of the Do Not Call Law is subject to enforcement from the Massachusetts Attorney General or individual consumer.

  • The Massachusetts Attorney General may investigate and prosecute violations of this law. This may result in a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation but not less than $1,500 for a violation involving a consumer who is 65 years of age or older.
  • Any consumer who has received more than 1 unsolicited sales telephone call during a 12-month period may bring legal action in court to have any further calls stopped and to recover a financial award. Consumers may be awarded up to $5,000 in damages or the actual amount of the injury whichever is greater. The winner may also be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs from the other party.
How Do I Report a Violation?

Telephone solicitors and list brokers who are aware of parties violating the law are encouraged to report such misconduct and provide supporting evidence by filing a complaint.

What can a non-Massachusetts company do to satisfy the local agent for service of process requirement?

An out of state corporation can either make arrangements with a Massachusetts resident to act as their agent for service of process or, they can allow the Secretary of the Commonwealth to accept service of process. The address of the Secretary of the Commonwealth is:

Corporations Division
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
617-727-2850