By Alec Gray
INDIANAPOLIS – On July 1, a new law goes into effect that will prohibit a telephone solicitor from helping another person in violating the Do Not Call law or the autodialer law.
Bryan Corbin, public information officer for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, said some companies have intentionally tried to evade the Do Not Call law.
“A company selling a product or service does not cold-call directly but instead uses a third-party company as a lead generator to place unwanted robo-calls and then transfer the calls to the original company,” Corbin said.
SB 349 was designed to protect the almost 2.5 million Hoosiers on the Do Not Call list, a list of Indiana residents who do not want to be pestered by unwanted sales calls.
In 2013 the attorney general’s office received 13, 587 complaints about companies or individuals violating the law and the privacy of those on the list.
Having a stronger law will give the attorney general’s office more power to protect those on the Do Not Call list, according to Deputy Attorney General Marguerite Sweeney, who oversees the telephone privacy division for the office.
“This is a tool that the Office of the Indiana Attorney General can use against persons or companies who benefit from illegal calls even if they do not actually make the calls themselves,” Sweeney said.
Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, who authored the bill, believes the attorney general should have as many tools as necessary to deal with people who are violating the privacy of Hoosiers on the list.
Zoeller has continued to ask the legislature for amendments to the law.
“In order to keep the Indiana Do Not Call law one of the strongest in the country, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General suggests amendments from time to time,” Sweeney said.
The Attorney General is also urging the Federal Communications Commission take a look a bigger look at robo-calls generated from outside the U.S. that have to ability to send more than 30,000 calls per hour to Indiana residents. State governments currently do not have legal authority to prosecute robo-calls that originate outside of the country.
The legislature asked the FCC to more aggressively regulate sales calls violating Hoosiers’ telephone privacy in Senate Concurrent Resolution 16.
Correction: This story has been corrected from its original version. It now has the correct spelling of Deputy Attorney General Marguerite Sweeney. TheStatehouseFile.com regrets the mistake. You can see all our corrections and clarifications at http://thestatehousefile.com/info/corrections/.
Alec Gray is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.