On May 18, 2018, Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina signed the Telephone Privacy Protection Act (the “Act”) into law. The new State telemarketing law is intended to curb caller ID spoofing and promote transparency by requiring marketers to comply with terms similar to federal telemarketing regulations.

How will the new State telemarketing law affect telephone solicitation?

Prohibition on Spoofing

Spoofing is the act of modifying the caller’s area code to, among other things, impersonate a local phone number on caller ID so that people will answer the subject phone calls. The State telemarketing law forbids a solicitor from “display[ing] a South Carolina area code on the recipient’s caller identification system unless the person making, placing, or initiating the call or text message maintains a physical presence in the State.” Additionally, in harmony with the federal Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009, solicitors cannot use spoofing with the intent to defraud, harass, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value from the receiving party. South Carolinians can report spoofed calls to the Office of Consumer Affairs.

New Requirements for Solicitors

Under the new State telemarketing law: 1) solicitors are prohibited from initiating a telephone call or sending a text message before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; 2) at the outset of the solicitation, the solicitor is required to properly identify itself, the purpose of the solicitation and the option to be added to the solicitor’s in-house do not call list; 3) any request not to receive solicitations must be honored for at least five years from the time the request was made; and 4) a solicitor may not contact a telephone number contained on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Enforcing the State Telemarketing Law

The Act will be enforced by the South Carolina Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Affairs. A person who is harmed by a violation of the Act is entitled to recover damages of one thousand dollars for each violation and five thousand dollars for each violation that a court of law finds is willful, along with reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Protect Your Business Against Telemarketing-Related Liability

In today’s regulatory environment, it is imperative to have all telemarketing practices and procedures examined by experienced counsel to avoid potentially disastrous consequences for alleged telemarketing-related violations.