On June 26, 2023 Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 1058 which expands the state’s telemarketing statutes. These changes were backed by Attorney General William Tong, who noted that Connecticut’s robocall statutes have not been updated since 2015. The amendments repeal and substitute sections 42-284 through 42-288(b) of Title 42 and go into effect October 1, 2023.
The numerous changes broaden the applicability by generally prohibiting telemarketers from making a telephonic sales call to a consumer without the consumer’s prior express written consent. Previously, the law only prohibited making these calls if they were unsolicited, automatically dialed, and recorded.
The update establishes a more expansive definition of telephonic sales call that also applies (1) to telephone calls made on behalf of a telemarketer and (2) regardless of whether the calls are made using a live voice, automated dialing system, recorded message device, soundboard technology, or over-the-top messaging or text or media messaging. The law applies to calls made to a Connecticut consumer or made to a telephone number with a Connecticut area code.
Other notable changes include updated definitions of the following:
“Telemarketers” includes telemarketers’ affiliates or subsidiaries doing business in Connecticut (e.g., conducting telephonic sales calls from within Connecticut, to resident consumers), or to a Connecticut area code;
A “voice communication” is a communication made by an individual or an artificial or prerecorded message, including a voice message transmitted directly to a recipient’s voicemail regardless of whether the recipient’s phone rings as part of the transmission and does not include an automated warning required by law;
A “text or media message” includes a short message and multimedia message service that contains written, audio, video, or photographic contact sent electronically to a mobile telephone or mobile electric device telephone number;
The changes also require anyone making permissible telephonic sales calls to disclose, within the first 10 seconds of the call, the (1) caller’s identity, (2) telephonic sales call’s purpose, and (3) the entity for which the person is making the call. It also requires the caller to ask at the beginning of the call whether the consumer wishes to continue the call, end the call, or be removed from the telephone solicitor’s list. After a consumer indicates his or her wish to end the call, it must end within 10 seconds.
The update extends the time by one hour; prohibiting unsolicited telephonic sales calls to Connecticut residents between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.
The amendments establish a rebuttable presumption that a voice communication or telephonic sales call made, or attempted, to any telephone number with a Connecticut area code or to a Connecticut resident has taken place in the state.
Finally, the amendments make violations unfair trade practices under CUTPA and require violators to be fined up to $20,000 in addition to any CUTPA penalties.
The above is not an exhaustive list of updates but points to a few key takeaways. To see all changes, see S.B. 1058.