Do Not Call law

Georgia senators have passed a bill to expand the reach of a state law that targets telemarketers.

ATLANTA – The state Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would expand Georgia’s law governing telemarketing calls.

The bill would allow Georgians to hold companies liable for telemarketing calls made by third-party contractors as well as pursue class-action lawsuits against telemarketers.

“What we’ve seen in Georgia is a proliferation of telemarketing calls,” said Sen. Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, the legislation’s chief sponsor. “They interrupt homes at dinnertimes."

“But our ability to stop them pursuant to the Georgia Do Not Call Act has been limited because we’ve seen those companies go outside and reach to other groups to make the calls for them.”

Tillery gave the example of a car-warranty company contracting with a third-party company to make phone calls to Georgians. Currently, the car-warranty company’s liability is very limited under Georgia law.

The bill the state Senate approved would fix that, Tillery said.

“[A company] can’t get around Georgia law by contracting with another company out-of-state,” he said. “They actually would be recognized as the entity making the call in the first place, and third-party liability would extend to them.”

The bill also would allow Georgians to bring a class-action lawsuit for such phone calls with damages of up to $1,000 per call.

A similar measure passed unanimously in the state Senate last year but failed to get approval from the state House of Representatives. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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