Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 61
Telephone Sales Solicitation Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-61-2

§ 5-61-2. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) “Department” means the department of attorney general.

(2) “Hours of operation” means Monday through Friday, except a state or federal holiday, nine o’clock (9:00 a.m.) to six o’clock (6:00 p.m.); Saturday ten o’clock (10:00 a.m.) to five o’clock (5:00 p.m.).

(3) “Item” means any goods and services and includes coupon books that are to be used with businesses other than the seller’s business.

(4) “Owner” means a person who owns or controls ten percent (10%) or more of the equity of, or otherwise has claim to ten percent (10%) or more of the net income of, a telephonic seller.

(5) “Person” includes an individual, firm, association, corporation, partnership, joint venture, or any other business entity.

(6) “Principal” means an owner; an executive officer of a corporation; a general partner of a partnership; a sole proprietor of a sole proprietorship; a trustee of a trust; or any other individual with similar supervisory functions with respect to any person.

(7) “Purchaser” or “prospective purchaser” means a person who is solicited to become, or does become, obligated to a telephonic seller.

(8) “Salesperson” means any individual employed, appointed, or authorized by a telephonic seller, whether referred to by the telephonic seller as an agent, representative, or independent contractor, who attempts to solicit or solicits a sale on behalf of the telephonic seller. The principals of a seller are themselves salespersons if they solicit sales on behalf of the telephonic seller.

(9) “Telephonic seller” or “seller” means a person who, on his or her own behalf or through salespersons or through the use of an automatic-dialing-announcing device, causes a telephone solicitation, or attempted telephone solicitation, to occur that meets the criteria specified as follows:

(i) A telephone solicitation, or attempted telephone solicitation, where the telephonic seller initiates or engages in telephonic contact with a prospective purchaser and represents or implies one or more of the following:

(A) That a prospective purchaser who buys one or more items will also receive additional or other items, whether or not of the same type as purchased, without “further cost.” For the purposes of this subdivision, “further cost” does not include actual postage or common carrier delivery charges, if any;

(B) That a prospective purchaser will receive a prize or gift if the person also encourages the prospective purchaser to purchase or rent any goods or services or pay any money, including, but not limited to, a delivery or handling charge;

(C) That a prospective purchaser who buys office equipment or supplies will, because of some unusual event or imminent price increase, be able to buy these items at prices that are below those that are usually charged or will be charged for the items;

(D) That the seller is a person other than the person he or she is;

(E) That the items for sale are manufactured or supplied by a person other than the actual manufacturer or supplier;

(F) That the seller is offering to sell the prospective purchaser any gold, silver, or other minerals, or any interest in oil, gas, or mineral field, wells, or exploration sites.

(ii) Solicitation or attempted solicitation that is made by telephone in response to inquiries generated by advertisements or other form of mail or any types of unrequested mailing or advertisement sent by the seller that requires a consumer to respond telephonically for further information where it is revealed that the seller is offering to sell to the prospective purchaser on behalf of the telephonic seller where it is represented or implied that the seller is offering to sell to the prospective purchaser any gold, silver, or other metals; diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or other stones; coal or other minerals; or any interest in oil, gas, or mineral fields, wells, or exploration sites; or that the seller is offering to sell any goods or services not specifically exempted in subsection (10).

(10) For purposes of this section, “telephonic seller” or “seller” does not include any of the following:

(i) A person selling a security that has been qualified for sale by the director of business regulation pursuant to § 7-11-301 et seq., or is exempt under § 7-11-401 et seq. from the necessity to qualify.

(ii) A person licensed pursuant to § 5-20.5-6, when the solicited transaction is governed by that law.

(iii) A person licensed pursuant to chapter 1.2 of title 7, when the solicited transaction is governed by that law.

(iv) A person soliciting the sale of a franchise that is registered pursuant to § 19-28.1-5 or is exempt under § 19-28.1-6 from the necessity of registering.

(v) A person primarily soliciting the sale of a newspaper of general circulation, as defined in § 9-19.1-1, a magazine or periodical, or contractual plans, including book and record clubs: (A) Under which the seller provides the consumer with a form that the consumer may use to instruct the seller not to ship the offered merchandise, and that is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission trade regulation rule concerning “Use of Negative Option Plans by Sellers in Commerce, 16 C.F.R. Part 425”; or (B) Not covered under subsection (10)(v)(A), such as continuity plans, subscription arrangements, standing-order arrangements, supplements, and series arrangements under which the seller periodically ships merchandise to a consumer who has consented in advance to receive the merchandise on a periodic basis.

(vi) A person soliciting business from prospective purchasers who have previously purchased from the person making the solicitation or the business enterprise for which the person is calling.

(vii) Any supervised financial institution or parent, subsidiary, or affiliate. As used in this paragraph, “supervised financial institution” means any commercial bank, trust company, savings and loan association, credit union, industrial loan company, personal property broker, consumer finance lender, commercial finance lender, or insurer; provided, that the institution is subject to supervision by an official or agency of this state or of the United States.

(viii) A person soliciting the sale of services provided by a cable television system licensed or franchised pursuant to chapter 19 of title 39.

(ix) A person or affiliate of a person whose business is regulated by the public utilities commission.

(x) A person soliciting the sale of a farm product, as defined in § 43-3-18, if the solicitation neither intends to, nor actually results in, a sale that costs the purchaser in excess of one hundred dollars ($100).

(xi) An issuer, or subsidiary of an issuer, that has a class of securities subject to § 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78l, and that is either registered or exempt from registration under paragraph (A), (B), (C), (E), (F), (G), or (H) of subsection (g) of that section.

(xii) A person soliciting sales that are exempted under § 6-13-5 (Unfair Sales Practices) or § 6-13.1-4 (Deceptive Trade Practices).

(xiii) A person soliciting exclusively the sale of telephone answering services to be provided by that person or that person’s employer.

History of Section.
P.L. 1987, ch. 227, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 327, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 456, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 36, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 72, § 1.