Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Indiana Attorney General warns political campaigns against robo calling

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today warned political campaigns to adhere to state telephone privacy laws and refrain from robocalling residents leading up to the 2016 Primary Election on May 3 and the General Election on Nov. 8.

Zoeller’s office enforces the state’s telephone privacy laws and investigates complaints about robocalls and other unwanted calls. His office received nearly 14,000 complaints about unwanted calls in 2015, a majority of which were about robocalls.

Zoeller sent a letter to the state party chairs of the Indiana Democratic Party, Indiana Republican Party and the Libertarian Party of Indiana as well as to the national party chairs, urging them to remind all campaigns operating in Indiana that they should not illegally robocall Hoosiers. Zoeller also created a guide that campaigns can utilize to ensure they follow Indiana’s laws aimed at protecting the public from unwanted and intrusive phone solicitations.

“Although automated calls are legal in some states, Indiana through its Legislature has chosen to adopt one of the strictest telephone privacy laws possible,” Zoeller said. “If your campaign gives the OK to blast out robocalls to Hoosiers, you are disregarding our state law, and my office will take swift action to bring you before court to face public scrutiny.”

Indiana’s Auto Dialer law, 24-5-14-5(b), restricts the use of technology that automatically dials residential phone numbers and plays prerecorded messages, also called robocalls. The penalty for violating the Indiana Auto Dialer law is up to $5,000 per call. Zoeller said his office will not hesitate to go to court to seek enforcement action against those who violate Indiana’s statute.

Zoeller advised campaigns to also share this information with hired outside consultants who work in multiple states and might not be familiar with Indiana’s strict telephone privacy laws.

If campaigns want to play a prerecorded message, a live operator must first have initiated the call and received the recipient’s permission, either by a prerecorded request to leave a message or the recipient must have previously opted into receiving such calls.

If an individual does not want to receive automated political voice mails, they should make it clear in their voice mail or answering machine prompt that they only wish to receive the name and number of the person calling. When a voice mail prompt invites a message to be left, it provides permission for a prerecorded message to be left.

Campaigns and political groups are allowed to make traditional “live” calls, even to numbers registered on the Do Not Call list, as long as the calls are not sales calls.

Zoeller said if someone receives an unwanted live campaign call, simply ask to be removed from the caller’s list. To block telemarketing calls, sign up for the Do Not Call list at IndianaConsumer.com.

Indiana residents who receive a political robocall or any other unwanted call can file a complaint at www.IndianaConsumer.com

 

Posted 3/23/2016

 
 
 
 

 

 

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