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Washington State Legislature Passes New Telemarketing Law

The Seattle Skyline with the Space Needle in the foreground

For the second consecutive year, Washington’s state legislature has passed new legislation making the state’s telemarketing regulations more stringent. The bill, HB 1051, changes several aspects of the state’s regulations.

The law creates a private right of action allowing consumers to sue under the Consumer Protection Act for injuries stemming from a commercial solicitation by an automatic dialing and announcing device (ADAD). The penalties are $1,000 per violation or actual damages. It changes the definition of “commercial solicitation” to include “wrongfully obtaining anything of value.” It defines ADAD as a system that automatically dials telephone numbers and transmits a recorded or artificial voice message once a connection is made.

Other provisions include penalties for voice service providers that facilitate transmission of unwanted commercial solicitations, changes that make it so the state’s do not call (DNC) list restrictions track the federal law and registry, and restrictions on deliberately falsifying a caller ID display.

This law does not quite seem to match the severity of the mini-Telephone Consumer Protection Acts (TCPA) that Florida and Oklahoma have passed in recent years. But any telemarketing regulation with a private right of action and large per-violation penalties is a significant source of risk for callers.

The bill passed both houses of the legislature unanimously and heads to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law. If he signs it, the law will take effect on July 4, 2023.