Massachusetts law about telemarketing

Laws, regulations, cases and web sources on telemarketing law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 159

  • § 19B Automatic telephone dialing systems; definition
  • § 19C Notification of wish not to receive calls from automatic telephone dialing system
  • § 19D Design and operation of automatic telephone dialing systems
  • § 19E Solicitations by telephone; required disclosures; misrepresentation

MGL c. 159C Telemarketing solicitation

Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 12 Do Not Call registry

Federal laws

15 U.S. Code §§ 6101 - 6108 Telemarketing and consumer fraud and abuse prevention

15 U.S. Code §§ 6151 - 6155 National Do Not Call registry

47 U.S. Code § 227 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

Protects consumers from automated phone calls (robocalls). In 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the government debt exemption portion of the law (47 US Code § 227 (b)(1)(A)(iii), but the remainder of the robocall restriction under the law was held to be constitutional. See Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, 591 U.S. __; 140 S.Ct. 2335 (2020).

In 2024, the FCC ruled that using AI-generated voices in robocalls is illegal under the TCPA.

Federal regulations

16 CFR 310 Telemarketing sales rule

47 CFR 64.1200 Restrictions on telephone solicitation

Selected cases

Mulhern v. MacLeod, 441 Mass. 754 (2004) 
A private citizen may sue a telemarketer in a Massachusetts state court for violating the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

Sagar v. Kelly Automotive Group, No. 21-CV-10540-PBS (D. Mass. 2021)
Car dealership was sued under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for sending unsolicited text messages to a cell phone registered with the National Do No Call Registry.  The court concluded that the TCPA does apply to text messages and residential privacy rights extend to cell phones because of the rise of wireless-only households.

Do Not Call lists

Register your number on MA Do Not Call list, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Register here for the Massachusetts "Do Not Call" list.

National Do Not Call Registry, Federal Trade Commission.
Includes information on the program and a form through which to register your number in the national "Do Not Call" Registry. This website also allows consumers to report unwanted calls.

Web sources

Complying with the telemarketing sales rule, Federal Trade Commission.
Guidelines for businesses on how to operate within the rule.

Massachusetts Do Not Call list, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Includes how to sign up for the "Do Not Call" list, consumer information, and complaint information.

National Do Not Call Registry FAQs, Federal Trade Commission.
Explains telemarketing rules, how to add a number to the Registry, and how to report unwanted calls.

Recording of telemarketing calls, Mass. Department of Public Utilities.
Electricity brokers and gas retail agents must keep telemarketing calls over 1 minute made to consumers for 2 years.

Telemarketing: how to have a quiet evening at home, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, 2016.
Provides helpful information on how to reduce telemarketing intrusions, and how to complain about violators.

Telemarketing and unwanted mail,
Outlines ways to stop receiving unwanted mail and how to report and protect yourself from telephone scams.

Unwanted calls, emails, and texts, Federal Trade Commission.
Information on privacy, robocalls, do not call, and spam.

Print sources

Consumer law, 4th ed. (Mass practice series v. 35) Thomson Reuters, 2021 with supplement, Sections 3:18 – 3:28.

Data security and privacy in Massachusetts, 3rd ed., MCLE, 2021, Sections 8.4.2 and 8.4.3.

Federal deception law, 4th ed., National Consumer Law Center, 2022, Chapters 5, 6, and 7.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about telemarketing

Last updated: March 29, 2024

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