Montana Department of Justice
Home / Office of Consumer Protection – OCP / For Telemarketing Companies and Other Businesses


From investigating bid rigging to walking you through the process of registering or licensing certain businesses, the Office of Consumer Protection doesn’t just work for consumers

OCP

We enforce Montana’s laws and rules related to:

  • consumer protection – preventing unfair and deceptive conduct towards consumers
  • antitrust – bid rigging, price fixing and monopoly abuses
  • telemarketing – registration and do-not-call lists
  • the Personal Solicitation Sales Act – regulation of door-to-door sales
  • other issues such as credit counseling, gift cards, home inspectors and Montana’s Lemon Law

Additionally, this office licenses debt management companies and registers debt settlement companies. Please see this page or contact our office for more information on these processes.

Telemarketing Information for a Business

The Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Prevention Act requires sellers and telemarketers to register with the Department of Justice before conducting telemarketing transactions in Montana.  Unless a business can prove it is exempt under MCA 30-14-1405, it must stop all telemarketing activities in Montana until it is properly registered.

Application and Bonding Requirements – A business wishing to telemarket must have its registration application approved by the department before it offers consumer goods or services for sale. Telemarketers who do not have a physical location in Montana must also register with the Secretary of State as a foreign business.

Surety Bond Requirements – All applicants must submit proof of:

  • a surety bond of $50,000 issued by an A- surety company authorized to do business in Montana and registered with the Secretary of State OR, in lieu of bond,
  • a certificate of deposit, cash or a government bond of $50,000
  • The bond:
  • cannot be combined with other bonds
  • must be only in the Department of Justice’s name
  • must be issued for a two-year period

Annual Renewal Required – Telemarketers must renew their registration and update their surety bond form annually. The department requires a 60-day written notice prior to bond renewal. You have 30 days to either have the surety bond re-issued or you can request in writing that your telemarketing registration application be cancelled. If you fail to meet any of the renewal requirements or cancel your registration, you must cease doing telemarketing in Montana. Fines will be assessed for non-compliance.

How to Register:

  1. Complete the Telemarketing Registration Application (Word version) (.pdf version) and include all attachments. Incomplete applications cannot be processed and will be returned.
  2. Complete the Telemarketing Registration Surety Bond Form (Word version) (.pdf version) as proof of your surety bond.
  3. Mail the completed application packet to:  Office of Consumer Protection, P.O. Box 200151, Helena, MT 59620-0151. There is no application fee.

Complaints Filed Against Your Business

If someone files a telemarketing complaint against your business, you will receive notice in the mail from either the OCP or the FTC. Failure to respond to these complaints can be a violation of state or federal law. Penalties for not using a required do-not-call list include a fine of up to $11,000 per call. In addition, criminal charges are possible for intentional violations.Unregistered businesses and telemarketers who continue to conduct telemarketing in Montana are subject to civil fines and penalties.

  • Under MCA 30-14-1413, the sale of any goods or services by an unregistered seller or telemarketer who is required to register is void.
  • Under MCA 30-14-1414, an unregistered seller or telemarketer may be fined up to $500 and imprisoned for up to six months for a first offense, and for a second or subsequent conviction, may be fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to five years.

To Purchase the State Do-Not-Call List

Under Montana law, telemarketers in Montana may be required to purchase and use a do-not-call list and must update it every 31 days. If someone asks to be put on your do-not-call list, you must maintain a list of people who have requested not to be called. You cannot call them again. Montana has fully integrated its state do-not-call list with the National Do-Not-Call Registry. To comply with Montana’s telemarketing laws, businesses must purchase the (406) area code or a package of area codes that includes the (406) area code from the National Do-Not-Call Registry. The price varies depending on how many area codes a business purchases. For more information, pricing details, or to purchase the National Do-Not-Call Registry, go to the Telemarketer section of the National Do Not Call Registry website.

Telemarketers who call across state lines need to buy the list for any area code they call.

If you are not engaged in telemarketing, you do not need to buy the list. If you are engaged in telemarketing, answer the questions below to determine if you need to buy the list. If the answer to any of the questions is yes, your business does not need to use the state do-not-call list. If you answer no to all of the questions, your business is required to purchase and use the state do-not-call list.

  • Are you a 501(c)1-(c)6 engaged in fundraising to support your charitable purpose and not using third-party telemarketers to make the calls?
  • Are you licensed by Montana to carry out your trade and calling to set an appointment only?
  • Are you regulated by a federal agency and required by that same agency to maintain a do-not-call list?
  • Are you calling from your own primary residence?
  • Are you calling someone with whom you have had a business contact within the last 180 days or someone whose number you got by referral?
  • Has the person specifically asked you to call them?

A nonprofit organization does not have to buy the state do-not-call list if:

  • it seeks donations without selling anything. That does not qualify as telemarketing under Montana law.
  • it is selling something and is a tax-exempt organization under 501(c)1-(c)6, provided it does not hire third parties to make the calls.

A charity or nonprofit organization is required to buy the state do-not-call list if it is selling something and hires third parties to make the calls. If a person requests that your organization not call them again, you must honor the request.

Telemarketing Sales Rule

The FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule requires certain disclosures and prohibits misrepresentations. It gives you the power to stop unwanted telemarketing calls and gives state law enforcement officers the authority to prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who operate across state lines. The Rule covers most types of telemarketing calls to consumers, including calls to promote goods, services, “sweepstakes,” and prize promotion or investment opportunities. It also applies to calls consumers make in response to materials received in the mail, or offers received through the Internet.

It can help you determine if you’re talking with a legitimate telemarketer or a scam artist.

  • Telemarketers must tell you it’s a sales call and who’s doing the selling before they make their pitch. If it’s a prize promotion, they must tell you that no purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win. If you’re asked to pay for a prize, hang up. Free is free.
  • It’s illegal for telemarketers to misrepresent any information, including facts about their goods or services, the earnings potential, profitability, or risk of an investment, or the nature of a prize in a prize-promotion scheme.
  • Telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the products or services offered and any restrictions on getting or using them, or that a sale is final or nonrefundable, before you pay. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase or payment is necessary to win, and any restrictions or conditions of receiving the prize.
  • It’s illegal for a telemarketer to withdraw money from your checking account without your express, verifiable authorization. That means they must tell you the total number of payments, the amount of each payment, the date the payments will be submitted to your bank, and which account they will charge.
  • Telemarketers cannot lie to get you to pay, no matter what method of payment you use.

Other Resources

Businesses wishing to advertise or do business in Montana are strongly encouraged to read the chapter of the Administrative Rules of Montana that relates to the Consumer Protection Act.

 

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Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.

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Children’s Justice Bureau

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Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

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Missing Persons Clearinghouse

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Office of Victim Services

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Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.

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Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and lojitsdcal and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.

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Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department dciof Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.

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Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.

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Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.

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Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.

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Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.

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Natural Resource Damage Program

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Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.

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Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.

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Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.

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Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.

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Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.

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Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.

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Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.

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