Telephone marketing is a common enterprise and, while most are legitimate businesses selling legitimate products, we all know someone who has found themself caught up in a scam sold to them over the telephone.  It was for that very reason that the Idaho Telephone Solicitation Act came into being.

Among other things, the Act requires that all telephone solicitors register with the Idaho Attorney General at least 10 days prior to conducting business in the state of Idaho — and that registration is valid for only one year.  The solicitor must provide that registration number to any potential purchaser who requests the registration number.

At the time the purchase is completed, the telephone solicitor must verbally inform the purchaser of (1) the purchaser’s cancellation rights in the state of Idaho (those rights are explained below); (2) provide the solicitor’s registration number; and (3) provide the solicitor’s full street address and telephone number.

Unless the purchaser has an unqualified right to return the goods or cancel the services and receive a full refund, the telephone solicitor must send a written confirmation of the purchase.  That confirmation must also notify the purchaser that the purchaser has three business days from the purchaser’s receipt of the written confirmation to cancel the transaction without any penalty or obligation whatsoever.

The confirmation to the purchaser must also tell the purchaser how and where to send the cancellation and that, if the purchaser cancels the transaction within the three business day period, all payments made by the purchaser will be returned within ten business days of the telephone solicitor’s receipt of the cancellation request.  The confirmation must tell the purchaser that, when the full refund has been received by the purchaser, the purchaser must return the goods to the telephone solicitor at the solicitor’s expense within twenty-one days of the purchaser’s receipt of the full refund.

The Consumer Protection Division of the office of the Idaho Attorney General is very responsive to complaints from citizens regarding violations of the Act, and has actively communicated with telephone solicitors who do not follow the requirements of the act.  When a telephone solicitation is received for the sale of products or services, a good first question should always be, “And what is your telephone solicitation registration number with the Attorney General’s office?”   The answer to that question may be helpful in deciding whether you want to continue with the conversation.