(1) As used in this section, "telephone solicitation" means the unsolicited initiation of a telephone call by a commercial or nonprofit company or organization to a residential telephone customer and conversation for the purpose of encouraging a person to purchase property, goods, or services or soliciting donations of money, property, goods, or services. "Telephone solicitation" does not include:
(a) Calls made in response to a request or inquiry by the called party. This includes calls regarding an item that has been purchased by the called party from the company or organization during a period not longer than twelve months prior to the telephone contact;
(b) Calls made by a not-for-profit organization to its own list of bona fide or active members of the organization;
(c) Calls limited to polling or soliciting the expression of ideas, opinions, or votes; or
(d) Business-to-business contacts.
For purposes of this section, each individual real estate agent or insurance agent who maintains a separate list from other individual real estate or insurance agents shall be treated as a company or organization. For purposes of this section, an organization as defined in RCW 29A.04.086
and organized pursuant to chapter 29A.80
RCW shall not be considered a commercial or nonprofit company or organization.
(2) A person making a telephone solicitation must identify him or herself and the company or organization on whose behalf the solicitation is being made and the purpose of the call within the first thirty seconds of the telephone call.
(3) If, at any time during the telephone contact, the called party states or indicates that he or she does not wish to be called again by the company or organization or wants to have his or her name and individual telephone number removed from the telephone lists used by the company or organization making the telephone solicitation, then:
(a) The company or organization shall not make any additional telephone solicitation of the called party at that telephone number within a period of at least one year; and
(b) The company or organization shall not sell or give the called party's name and telephone number to another company or organization: PROVIDED, That the company or organization may return the list, including the called party's name and telephone number, to the company or organization from which it received the list.
(4) A violation of subsection (2) or (3) of this section is punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars for each violation.
(5) The attorney general may bring actions to enforce compliance with this section. For the first violation by any company or organization of this section, the attorney general shall notify the company with a letter of warning that the section has been violated.
(6) 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.
(7) The utilities and transportation commission shall by rule ensure that telecommunications companies inform their residential customers of the provisions of this section. The notification may be made by (a) annual inserts in the billing statements mailed to residential customers, or (b) conspicuous publication of the notice in the consumer information pages of local telephone directories.
[2015 c 53 § 95; 1987 c 229 § 13; 1986 c 277 § 2.]
Legislative finding—1986 c 277: "The legislature finds that certain kinds of telephone solicitation are increasing and that these solicitations interfere with the legitimate privacy rights of the citizens of the state. A study conducted by the utilities and transportation commission, as directed by the forty-ninth legislature, has found that the level of telephone solicitation in this state is significant to warrant regulatory action to protect the privacy rights of the citizens of the state. It is the intent of the legislature to clarify and establish the rights of individuals to reject unwanted telephone solicitations." [1986 c 277 § 1.]
Charitable solicitations: Chapter 19.09
Commercial telephone solicitation: Chapter 19.158