New Mass. Telemarketing Rules Incorporate NAII Suggestions

December 16, 2002

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) announced the finalization of its new telemarketing regulations, which include changes recommended by the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

The NAII suggestions include one that entities making unsolicited calls as defined by law should not be required to register with the state.

“The registration and requirement that businesses help maintain and purchase a costly ‘do not call’ list clearly exceeded Massachusetts state law, and would have inflicted an unnecessary burden on businesses operating in the state,” said Gerald L. Zimmerman, senior counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

The regulations were the result of the telemarketing solicitation law passed by the Massachusetts legislature this year. Designed to protect consumers against abuses by telemarketers, the regulation originally included a clause requiring businesses to register with the state.

NAII submitted written testimony to the OCABR opposing the registration requirement, pointing out that the law’s definition of the term “unsolicited telephonic sales calls” to exclude those made in connection with an existing debt or contract, or calls to existing customers unless the customer has specifically stated they don’t want to receive such calls. Insurers commonly contact customers to clarify or update policy information.

“The final version of the regulation is much clearer, and is more in line with the original intent of the telemarketing law, which was designed to protect consumers against obnoxious telemarketing pitchmen,” Zimmerman said. “This is a regulation that should work for everyone and we praise the OCABR for listening to our concerns and making the changes.”

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