Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 17. Ban on Automated Dialing Systems.


§ 34–1701. Ban on automated telephone dialing systems for commercial solicitation; definitions; prohibition; exceptions.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Automated dialing or push-button or tone-activated address signaling telephone system with a prerecorded message” is any equipment used for telephone solicitation purposes, which alone or in conjunction with other equipment, can convey a prerecorded or synthesized voice message to the number called.

(2) “Soliciting” means any attempt to sell or lease consumer goods, services, or real property to another person.

(b)(1) A person may not use an automated dialing, push-button, or tone-activated address signaling telephone system with a prerecorded message for the sole purpose of:

(A) Soliciting a person over the telephone to purchase or lease goods, services, or real property; or

(B) Requesting survey information over the telephone where results are to be used directly for the purpose of soliciting a person to purchase or lease goods, services, or real property.

(2) This section shall not apply if:

(A) The person soliciting is a federal, state, or local government agency that uses an automated dialing prerecorded message for emergency purposes; or

(B) A person has a preexisting business relationship with the party called and the call concerns goods, services, or real property that have been previously ordered or purchased.

(3) Any automated, push-button, or tone-activated address signaling telephone system used in the District must automatically create a disconnect signal or on hook condition which allows the called party’s line to be released within 10 seconds after the called party hangs up.

(4) Any person who violates this section shall be fined a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for the 1st violation and not more than $5,000 for each subsequent violation.

(5) The Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia, or his assistants, shall prosecute violations of this section in the name of the District of Columbia.


(July 13, 1991, D.C. Law 9-14, §§ 2, 3, 38 DCR 3384.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1418.