Maryland’s New Telemarketing Law

On May 3, 2023, Maryland Governor, Wes Moore, signed SB 90 into law. In enacting the Stop the Spam Calls Act of 2023 (“mini-TCPA”), Maryland is the latest state to enact its own mini–Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) statute. Maryland’s telemarketing law is set to take effect on January 1, 2024.

While Florida, Oklahoma, and Washington state telemarketing laws contain similarities, they are also slightly different from one another and the TCPA. 

Similarities and Differences Between State Mini-TCPA Statutes 

  • Like the other three, Maryland’s mini-TCPA law prohibits calls before 8:00am and after 8:00pm. Readers of our blog know that this is more restrictive than federal law, which prohibits calls after 9:00pm.
  • Like the other three, Maryland’s telemarketing statute contains a rebuttable presumption that telemarketing calls made to in-state area codes are made to residents of the state or persons in the state at the time of the call.  
  • Like the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (“FTSA”) and Oklahoma’s mini-TCPA law, callers are prohibited from placing more than three telephone solicitation calls (or sending text messages) to individuals in a 24-hour period on the same subject matter.
  • Like the other state statutes, Maryland’s telemarketing statute allows for a private right of action.
  • Like the other state statutes, Maryland’s telemarketing law contains a business-to-business exception for calls/texts placed to existing and potential customers. 
  • Like Oklahoma, Maryland’s mini-TCPA statute does not apply to business-to-business sales where the caller has been lawfully and continuously operating for three years.
  • Like Washington, Maryland’s telemarketing law contains an exception for solicitations made in response to consumer inquiries and requests.
  • Unlike the TCPA and the other state statutes, Maryland’s telemarketing law does not include its own penalty provisions. Instead, a violation under Maryland’s telemarketing statute is an unfair or deceptive trade practice, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 ($5,000 for each subsequent offense) or one-year imprisonment, or both. Injunctive relief and/or civil damages may also be awarded.

FTSA’s Impact on Maryland’s Telemarketing Law

As with the other state statutes, Maryland’s telemarketing law more closely resembles the FTSA than the TCPA. For example, Maryland’s statute follows the FTSA with its “automated system” language, without an associated definition. In failing to define the term “automated system,” among other things, cases brought under the FTSA often survive beyond the pleading stages as compared to recent TCPA cases. 

As a result of the flood of cases brought under the FTSA, House Bill 761 was recently introduced, which would significantly scale back the FTSA. The Bill has been passed by both the Florida State House of Representatives and the Senate. Governor Ron DeSantis has until the end of this week to sign or veto the bill.

The fact that there is an effort to significantly scale back the FTSA less than two years after the FTSA took effect, shows how quickly the telemarketing landscape can change. As such, it is more important than ever to have the right counsel in place to help ensure that your business stays up to date with TCPA and state telemarketing law developments.  

If you require assistance with telemarketing law compliance or related litigation defense, please email us at or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for information purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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Photo by Wesley Hilario on Unsplash

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