Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
What you need
The Do Not Call Law gives consumers two ways to take action against those who violate the law. You may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General who is empowered to take legal action against those who violate any aspect of the law. You can also bring their own lawsuit and attempt to recover damages up to $5,000 if you receive more than one unsolicited sales call within 12 months by the same person or entity. Only certain calls violate the law, so consumers must check that they have a qualifying complaint before filing a complaint or pursuing legal action.
Did the Call You Receive Violate the Law?
Before filing a complaint or taking legal action, check to see if the call was permitted because it falls under one of the following exemptions:
- Noncommercial polls or surveys, e.g. political polls;
- Calls made by tax-exempt non-profit organizations, e.g. fundraising calls from universities or charities;
- Calls made to consumers with that consumer's express permission;
- Calls made to consumers in response to a visit to that company's fixed commercial location;
- Sales calls made primarily in connection with an existing contract or debt;
- Sales calls to an existing customer;
- Sales calls in the context of ongoing sales when face-to-face presentations or meetings are needed for payment.
If the call is not permitted under the exemptions and you can answer "YES" to any of the following questions, the call may have violated the law:
Did I receive the call after the effective date of my registration on the Do Not Call Registry? Remember, the list is provided to telemarketers quarterly. It may take up to 90 days after you sign up for unsolicited sales calls to stop. You may check your effective date online.
- Did I receive the call after 8 p.m. or before 8 a.m.?
- Did I receive a solicitation by fax?
- Did I receive a solicitation from a recorded message?
- Did the call I received block my caller ID device?
- Did the caller fail to make the required disclosures?
- Within the first 60 seconds the caller must disclose:
- the sales purpose of the call
- the name of the telemarketing company
- the name of the ultimate seller of the goods or services
- an accurate description of the goods or services being sold?
- Before accepting or arranging for payment, the caller must disclose:
- the price of the goods or services, including tax, shipping & handling
- any restrictions or limitations on the purchase
- all policies regarding return, exchange or cancellation
- all aspects of any investment including price, location and risk?
If a consumer is filing suit himself or herself, is this at least the second call from this same person or entity within the past 12 months?
How to file
File a complaint with the Attorney General's office using their online complaint form: https://www.eform.ago.state.ma.us/ago_eforms/forms/piac_ecomplaint.action
You may bring an action in court under the Consumer Protection Act to have any further calls stopped and to recover a financial award. To start this process you will need to write a 30 day demand letter.
Please note: No action may be taken against a company if it is more than three years after the person bringing the action knew or should have known about the violation or it is more than three years after the termination of action taken by the Commonwealth.
Tips for Tracking Telemarketing Violations
Not all telephone calls are prohibited, even after you sign up on the Do Not Call Registry. Therefore it is important for you to keep track of the dates and times of the calls you receive, and whether or not the telemarketer made the proper disclosures so that you can determine whether your rights have been violated. Download the Do Not Call Checklist and keep it by your phone and you will have all the information you need to file a complaint with the Attorney General or to file suit yourself.
- Date and Time of the Alleged Violation
- Number Appearing on Caller ID (if available)
- Name of Company Selling Product or Service
- Name and Address of Telemarketing Firm and Manager's Name (if available)
- Any Product or Service Information
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.