Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
12/6/2019

Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act

§ 59.1-510. Definitions; rule of construction.

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 or initiated based on (i) the called person's purchase from, or transaction with, the person on whose behalf the telephone solicitation call is being made or initiated 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 or initiated within the three months immediately preceding the date of the call.

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

"Responsible person" means either or both of (i) a telephone solicitor or (ii) a seller if the telephone solicitation call offering or advertising the seller's property, goods, or services is presumed to have been made or initiated on behalf of or for the benefit of the seller and the presumption is not rebutted as provided in subsection B of § 59.1-514.1.

"Seller" means any person on whose behalf or for whose benefit a telephone solicitation call offering or advertising the person's property, goods, or services is made or initiated.

"Telephone solicitation call" means any telephone call made or initiated to any natural person's residence in the Commonwealth, or to any wireless telephone with a Virginia area code or to a wireless telephone registered to any natural person who is a resident of the Commonwealth, 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 initiates, or causes another person to make or initiate, a telephone solicitation call on its own behalf or for its own benefit or on behalf of or for the benefit of a seller.

2001, cc. 528, 553; 2004, cc. 202, 224; 2019, cc. 256, 264.

§ 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.

§ 59.1-514.1. Joint liability of seller and telephone solicitor for prohibited acts; rebuttable presumption.

A. A seller on whose behalf or for whose benefit a telephone solicitor makes or initiates a telephone solicitation call in violation of any provision of § 59.1-511, 59.1-512, 59.1-513, or 59.1-514 and the telephone solicitor making or initiating the telephone call shall be jointly and severally liable for such violation.

B. A telephone solicitation call offering or advertising a seller's property, goods, or services shall be presumed to have been made or initiated on behalf of or for the benefit of the seller, whether or not any agency relationship exists between the telephone solicitor and the seller, whether or not the seller supervised or directed the conduct of the telephone solicitor, and whether or not the telephone solicitor is shown to have acted at the seller's direction and request when making or initiating the telephone solicitation call. The presumption may be rebutted if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the seller did not retain or request the telephone solicitor to make telephone solicitation calls on the seller's behalf or for the seller's benefit and that the telephone solicitation calls offering or advertising the seller's property, goods, or services were made by the telephone solicitor without the seller's knowledge or consent.

2019, cc. 256, 264.

§ 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 against any responsible person to enjoin such violation and to recover from any responsible person 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 any damages awarded under subsection A 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 under subsection A or B reasonable attorney fees and court costs.

D. An action for damages, attorney fees, and costs brought under this section may be filed in an appropriate general district court or small claims court against any responsible person 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; 2019, cc. 256, 264.

§ 59.1-516. Investigative authority.

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; 2019, cc. 256, 264.

§ 59.1-517. Enforcement; civil penalties.

A. The Attorney General, an attorney for the Commonwealth, or the attorney for any locality may cause an action to be brought in the name of the Commonwealth or of the locality, as applicable, to enjoin any violation of this chapter by any responsible person and to recover from any responsible person 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 assess against any responsible person 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 locality may recover reasonable expenses incurred by the state or local agency in investigating and preparing the case, and attorney fees.

D. Any civil penalties assessed under subsection B in an action brought in the name of the Commonwealth shall be paid into the Literary Fund. Any civil penalties assessed under subsection B in an action brought in the name of a locality shall be paid into the general fund of the locality.

2001, cc. 528, 553; 2019, cc. 256, 264.

§ 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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