Washington State Updates Telemarketing Laws

Lately, there has been a new trend of multiple states proposing more stringent restrictions on telemarketing calls, and the latest to do so is Washington. Since the Facebook v. Duguid Supreme Court decision last year, it has become more difficult for plaintiffs to sue under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), so lobbyists for plaintiff’s bar groups are likely putting pressure on states to tighten the reigns on local rules.

On March 30, 2022, the Washington Governor signed HB1497 into law, which becomes effective on June 9, 2022.

The law only affects “unsolicited telephone solicitations”, therefore the following types of calls would not be affected:

  • Calls made in response to a request;
  • Calls made by a non-profit to its list of active members;
  • Calls limited to polling, opinions, etc.; and
  • Business to business calls.

The new law, HB1497, amends at least one of Washington’s existing telemarketing laws, RCW 80.36.390, which already afforded a private right of action by consumers. RCW 80.36.390 states that “A person aggrieved by repeated violations of this section may bring a civil action in superior court to enjoin future violations, to recover damages, or both. The court shall award damages of at least one hundred dollars for each individual violation of this section. If the aggrieved person prevails in a civil action under this subsection, the court shall award the aggrieved person reasonable attorneys’ fees and cost of the suit.” 

The fines associated with HB1497 prove that it may not be as lucrative to professional litigators as the TCPA or Florida’s “mini-TCPA.” However, from our experience, we have come to learn that these consumers go after the low hanging fruit when it comes to their attempts to profit from companies’ non-compliance.

Please reach out to us at connect@compliancepoint.com if you have any questions about these changes or how CompliancePoint can assist your organization with managing your marketing compliance.

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