Commercial telephone solicitation refers to telemarketing. It is a method of marketing in which salespersons solicit to customers to buy products or services through telephone. In the U.S., commercial telephone solicitation is restricted by federal law and state statues through Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 1991.
The use of telephones for commercial solicitation is rapidly increasing. This form of communication offers unique benefits, but consists of special risks and poses potential for abuse. The widespread practice of fraudulent commercial telephone solicitation is a matter of concern as it is largely affecting the public interest. For general welfare of the public and in order to protect the integrity of the telemarketing industry, the commercial use of telephones is regulated by law.
The following is an example of the state statute defining commercial telephone solicitation:
Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 19.158.020 defines commercial telephone solicitation as an unsolicited telephone call to a person initiated by a salesperson and conversation for the purpose of inducing the person to purchase or invest in property, goods, or services.