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Delaware Telemarketing Fraud Laws

Telemarketing fraud occurs when an offender makes intentional misrepresentations over the phone in order to unlawfully obtain money or personal information from a victim. In Delaware, telemarketing fraud is criminalized under the Delaware Telemarketing Fraud Act. The purpose of this act is to set standards of conduct for organized commercial telemarketing within Delaware and to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices by telemarketers.

In Delaware, "telemarketing" is defined as an organized activity, program, or campaign by one or more telemarketers that is conducted for solicitation of a sale of merchandise through the use of one or more telephones to contact customers. In order to deter telemarketing fraud, the acts outlined in the table below are illegal in Delaware.

Code Section

Delaware Code section 2507A: Prohibited Acts and Practices

What's Prohibited?

It is a prohibited telemarketing act for any person to:
  • Obtain or submit for payment a check, or other form of payment, without the account holder's express authorization (for example a signed written statement)
  • Advise or represent that the registration as a telemarketer equals an endorsement or approval by any government or governmental agency of any state
  • Willfully call or contact any customer by telephone for any purpose related to the sale or advertising of merchandise for 10 years after having been directed by the customer to cease and desist from such calls
  • Assist any seller, telemarketer, or telemarketing business when the person knows (or should know) that the seller, telemarketer, or telemarketing business was engaged in any act or practice that violates this chapter
  • Request or receive payment in advance from a person to recover or otherwise aid in the return of money or any other item lost by the customer in a prior telemarketing transaction, or
  • Use the services of any professional courier to obtain a customer's payment (unless the merchandise is delivered with the opportunity to inspect it before any payment is collected)

Penalties

Class F felony.

Exempt Telemarketers

The prohibited acts listed in the chart above do not apply to all telemarketers. For example, the Delaware's Telemarketing Fraud Act isn't applicable to the following telemarketing solicitations:

  • Solicitations in which payment isn't required until after a face-to-face sales presentation to the customer is made by the telemarketer
  • Communications initiated by a customer that aren't the result of solicitation by the telemarketer
  • Solicitations regarding the sale of goods or services between businesses
  • Use of telemarketing for fundraising and noncommercial purposes by religious, charitable, political, educational, labor, or qualifying social organizations
  • Use of telemarketing on behalf of a licensed insurance broker, agent, customer representative, or solicitor when making solicitations is within the scope of the person's license
  • Use of telemarketing on behalf of a person lawfully registered with the Delaware Securities Commissioner and is acting within the scope of the person's registration
  • Use of telemarketing on behalf of a supervised financial institution, or
  • Using telephones solely to receive calls initiated by customers responding to the business' catalogue

Which Federal Laws Apply to Telemarketing?

The main federal telecommunication laws are:

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Delaware's telemarketing fraud laws contact a local consumer protection lawyer or criminal defense attorney.

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