Amendment alleviates issues with telemarketer legislation

Several bills have been introduced in the 2019 regular session to ban and set penalties for telephone solicitors who intentionally use misleading caller identification information.

A coalition, including the Alabama Retail Association, worked to amend the first of those bills presented in committee – SB7.

Under the amendment, simply listing a telephone number on a billboard, print advertisement or website would NOT qualify as a telephone solicitation. Without the amendment, florists, pizza delivery businesses and others who receive orders over the phone from someone who saw their phone number printed in an ad could be required to have a paper contract with the customer before making the sale.

The amendment also avoids liability for business-to-business calls and removes a provision that would make a violation a deceptive trade practice.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB7, but the Senate has yet to schedule it for floor debate.

Two similar bills – HB29 and HB40 have been reassigned to the House Technology and Research Committee and placed in a subcommittee for further review. Another bill on the same subject – HB86 – is assigned to the same committee. The House bills in this committee are expected to be combined into one piece of legislation.

A fifth bill, SB95, has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.