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Massachusetts Joins DNC Trend, Will Pick Private Vendor

Gov. Jane Swift of Massachusetts has signed legislation that will create a do-not-call list in the state, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

The Massachusetts bill is part of a trend in state DNC list legislation in calling for a private vendor, rather than a state agency, to maintain the state’s list. Kansas recently picked a private vendor to maintain its list, and the Direct Marketing Association maintains the DNC lists of Connecticut, Maine, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Massachusetts’ DNC list law, signed Aug. 9, calls for the Consumer Protection Division of the state Office of the Attorney General to hire a private DNC list vendor with at least two years experience in the field. The list will be published quarterly and will be provided to telemarketers for an unspecified fee to be determined by the state attorney general.

The law provides for a “grace period” for companies new to the state. It exempts from the DNC list telephone solicitors who began doing business in Massachusetts after Jan. 1, 2002, provided they have been doing business in the state for less than one year and are calling consumers who have not told that specific company they no longer want telemarketing calls.

Non-commercial calls, including nonprofit and survey calls, also are exempt. The bill carries civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation of the list.

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