Ohio Telemarketing Fraud Laws

A telephone solicitation is communication initiated by or on behalf of a telemarketer or a salesperson and meant to induce the consumer to purchase goods or services.

In Ohio, telemarketing fraud can come in the form of sweepstakes or prize calls, credit repair schemes, charity scams or investment rip offs -- just to name a few. Senior citizens are particularly at risk for this type of crime. The number of telemarketing scams aimed at seniors has been on the rise, prompting warnings from the U.S. attorney.

Signing up for the Do Not Call Registry will help cut down significantly on the telemarketing calls you receive at home. Most telemarketers must take your home phone number off of their call lists if you've signed up for the Registry.

In most instances, victims will report telemarketing fraud to the federal government, but here is a general overview of Ohio's state telemarketing laws. See Federal Telemarketing Rules, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes for more information.

Code Section

Telephone Solicitations Act: Ohio Revised Code Section 4719.01 et seq.

Ohio Telemarketing Fraud Act: Section 109.87

Enforcement Agencies Ohio Attorney General
Remedies

Criminal and civil penalties including declaratory judgments, injunctions, individual damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and class action lawsuits.

Hours Calls can only come between 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Do Not Call Registry Consumers can register for the National "Do Not Call List." Telemarketers must stop calling you 30 days after you sign up for the list.
Who Can Bring an Individual Lawsuit? The Attorney General, a county prosecutor, or individual consumer may bring a lawsuit.
What are the telemarketing rules?

  • Requires certain telemarketing businesses operating inside and outside Ohio to register with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office;
  • No contract made through a telemarketing call is valid until the telemarketer receives a signed, written confirmation from the consumer;
  • Requires telemarketers to state their real name, their company’s name and their purpose for calling within the first 60 seconds of a call;
  • Telemarketers must disclose all material information about the goods or services they are offering and terms of the sale. They are prohibited from lying about any terms of the offer.
  • Allows the Ohio Attorney General to enforce federal and state telemarketing laws;
  • Establishes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the law.
Do telephone solicitiers/salespeople need to register with the state? Yes, see Ohio Revised Code Section 4719.02
Definition of "telephone soliciter"

a person that engages in telephone solicitation directly or through one or more salespersons either from a location in Ohio, or from a location outside Ohio to persons in this state.

"Telephone solicitor" includes, but is not limited to, any person that is an owner, operator, officer, or director of, partner in, or other individual engaged in the management activities of, a business.

Are some calls exempt from the do not call registry? The do not call provisions do not cover calls from political organizations, telephone surveyors, companies with which a consumer has an existing business relationship, or where a consumer has given express written permission to the organization or caller.

Federal Protections against Telemarketing Fraud

The FCC, FTC, and U.S. Department of Justice enforce federal telemarketing laws including violations of the National "Do Not Call" Registry and deceptive business practices including:

Enforcement Agencies

If you feel you have been victimized by a telemarketing scam, here is some contact information that can help you:

Because telemarketing laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced consumer protection attorney in Ohio if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.