Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
4/26/2017

Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act

§ 59.1-510. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Established business relationship" means a relationship between the called person and the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made based on: (i) the called person's purchase from, or transaction with, the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made within the 18 months immediately preceding the date of the call or (ii) the called person's inquiry or application regarding any property, good, or service offered by the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made within the three months immediately preceding the date of the call.

"Personal relationship" means the relationship between a telephone solicitor making a telephone solicitation call and any family member, friend, or acquaintance of that telephone solicitor.

"Telephone solicitation call" means any telephone call made to any natural person's residence in the Commonwealth, or to any wireless telephone with a Virginia area code, for the purpose of offering or advertising any property, goods or services for sale, lease, license or investment, including offering or advertising an extension of credit.

"Telephone solicitor" means any person who makes, or causes another person to make, a telephone solicitation call.

2001, cc. 528, 553; 2004, cc. 202, 224.

§ 59.1-511. Calling time restrictions.

No telephone solicitor shall initiate, or cause to be initiated, a telephone solicitation call at any time other than between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. local time at the called person's location, unless the telephone solicitor has obtained the prior consent of the called person.

2001, cc. 528, 553; 2004, cc. 202, 224.

§ 59.1-512. Identification of telephone solicitor required.

A telephone solicitor who makes a telephone solicitation call shall identify himself by his first and last names and the name of the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made promptly upon making contact with the called person.

2001, cc. 528, 553.

§ 59.1-513. Transmission of caller identification information required.

A. A telephone solicitor who makes a telephone solicitation call shall transmit the telephone number, and, when available by the telephone solicitor's carrier, the name of the telephone solicitor. It shall not be a violation of this section to substitute (for the name and telephone number used in, or billed for, making the call) the name of the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made and that person's customer service telephone number. The number so provided must permit, during regular business hours, any individual to make a request not to receive telephone solicitation calls.

B. No telephone solicitor shall take any intentional action to prevent the transmission of the telephone solicitor's name or telephone number to any person receiving a telephone solicitation call.

2001, cc. 528, 553; 2004, cc. 202, 224.

§ 59.1-513.1. Abandoned telephone solicitation calls.

Whenever a live sales representative is not available to speak with the person answering a telephone solicitation call within two seconds of the person's completed greeting, the telephone solicitor shall play a prerecorded identification message that states the name and telephone number of the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call was being made. The number so provided shall permit, during regular business hours, any individual to make a request not to receive telephone solicitation calls.

2004, cc. 202, 224.

§ 59.1-514. Unwanted telephone solicitation calls prohibited.

A. No telephone solicitor shall initiate, or cause to be initiated, a telephone solicitation call to a telephone number when a person at such telephone number previously has stated that he does not wish to receive a telephone solicitation call made by or on behalf of the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made. Such statement may be made to a telephone solicitor or to the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made if that person is different from the telephone solicitor. Any such request not to receive telephone solicitation calls shall be honored for at least 10 years from the time the request is made.

B. No telephone solicitor shall initiate, or cause to be initiated, a telephone solicitation call to a telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry maintained by the federal government pursuant to the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, and 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200 .

C. It shall be an affirmative defense in any action brought under § 59.1-515 or 59.1-517 for a violation of this section that the defendant has established and implemented, with due care, reasonable practices and procedures to effectively prevent telephone solicitation calls in violation of this section, including using in accordance with applicable federal regulations a version of the National Do Not Call Registry obtained from the administrator of the registry no more than 31 days prior to the date any telephone solicitation call is made.

D. For purposes of this section, "telephone solicitation call" shall not include a telephone call made to any person: (i) with that person's prior express invitation or permission as evidenced by a signed, written agreement stating that the person agrees to be contacted by or on behalf of a specific party and including the telephone number to which the call may be placed, (ii) with whom the person on whose behalf the telephone call is made has an established business relationship, or (iii) with whom the telephone solicitor making the telephone call has a personal relationship. The exemption for an established business relationship or a personal relationship shall not apply when the person called previously has stated that he does not wish to receive telephone solicitation calls as provided in subsection A.

2001, cc. 528, 553; 2004, cc. 202, 224; 2005, c. 296.

§ 59.1-515. Individual action for damages.

A. Any natural person who is aggrieved by a violation of this chapter shall be entitled to initiate an action to enjoin such violation and to recover damages in the amount of $500 for each such violation.

B. If the court finds a willful violation, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount not exceeding $1,500.

C. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, in addition to any damages awarded, such person may be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs.

D. An action for damages, attorneys' fees, and costs brought under this section may be filed in an appropriate general district court or small claims court so long as the amount claimed does not exceed the jurisdictional limits set forth in § 16.1-77 or § 16.1-122.2, as applicable. Any action brought under this section that includes a request for an injunction shall be filed in an appropriate circuit court.

2001, cc. 528, 553.

§ 59.1-516. Investigative authority.

A. The Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or his duly authorized representative, shall have the power to inquire into possible violations of this chapter, and to request, but not to require, an appropriate legal official to bring an action under § 59.1-517 with respect to such violation.

B. Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person has engaged in, is engaging in or is about to engage in any violation of this chapter, the Attorney General is empowered to issue a civil investigative demand. The provisions of § 59.1-9.10 shall apply mutatis mutandis to civil investigative demands issued pursuant to this section.

2001, cc. 528, 553.

§ 59.1-517. Enforcement; penalties.

A. The Attorney General, an attorney for the Commonwealth or the attorney for any county, city or town may cause an action to be brought in the name of the Commonwealth or of the county, city or town to enjoin any violation of this chapter by any person and to recover damages for aggrieved persons in the amount of $500 for each such violation.

B. If the court finds a willful violation, the court may, in its discretion, also award a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for each such violation.

C. In any action brought under this section, the Attorney General, the attorney for the Commonwealth or the attorney for the county, city or town may recover reasonable expenses incurred by the state or local agency in investigating and preparing the case, and attorneys' fees.

D. Any civil penalties awarded under this section in an action brought in the name of the Commonwealth shall be paid into the Literary Fund. Any civil penalties awarded under this section in an action brought in the name of a county, city or town shall be paid into the general fund of the county, city or town.

2001, cc. 528, 553.

§ 59.1-518. Effect on other remedies, causes of action or penalties.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit any remedies, causes of action or penalties available to any person or governmental agency under any other federal or state law.

2001, cc. 528, 553.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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