The state of Vermont requires that any organization whose business activity in Vermont is limited to phone solicitation within the state, and meets the definition of telemarketer below, be registered with the Office of the Secretary of State.
Am I a Telemarketer?
“Telemarketer” means any person who initiates telephone calls to, or who receives telephone calls from, a consumer in connection with a plan, program, or campaign to market goods or services. The term “telemarketer” does not include:
- A federally-insured depository institution or its subsidiary when it obtains or submits for payment a check, draft, or other form of negotiable instrument drawn on or debited against a person’s checking, savings, share, or other depository account at that institution.
- Any person who initiates telephone calls to or who receives telephone calls from a consumer in connection with collection of an amount due for goods or services previously provided to the consumer.
- Any company registered with and regulated by the public service board.
- Any organizations already registered with the Vermont Office of the Secretary of State as a domestic or foreign business entity.
To read the full text of the law, please refer to: 9 V.S.A. § 2464
No telemarketer shall call a telephone number in Vermont that has been on the telephone preference service list quarterly update for at least 60 days. No telemarketer shall make a telephone call to a number in Vermont that the customer has requested, at least 45 days previously, to be on the telemarketer do-not-call list maintained in accordance with the rules of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.
Vermont has adopted the National Do-Not-Call Registry but does not maintain a separate do-not-call list. To have your phone number added to the FTC’s list you need to contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov and follow the directions given. The registration process is easy and free of charge. In addition to registration, this site offers information regarding the various types of telephone fraud, and how to file a complaint. The Office of the Secretary of State is not a contact for addition to this list, nor do we maintain copies of any such list.
Any person who receives a telemarketing call in violation of this title may bring an action in superior court for damages, injunctive relief, punitive damages in the case of a willful violation, and reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. The court may issue an award for the person’s actual damages or $500.00 for a first violation, or $1,000.00 for each subsequent violation, whichever is greater.
For information on how to file a complaint against a telemarketing company contact the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP), a division of the Attorney General’s Office.
Charitable Organizations Doing Business in Vermont
If you are an existing out-of-state charitable organization and wish to solicit for membership in Vermont, you need to obtain a Certificate of Authority from the Office of the Secretary of State. This can be accomplished in the Online Business Service Center by selecting “Foreign Non Profit” during the registration process. Please have a digital copy of a current Certificate of Good Standing from your home state for upload. Visit our Online Registration Guide for how to get started.
If you are paid on behalf of one or more nonprofits to solicit membership and or other contribution in Vermont, you need to be registered with both the Office of the Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s Office.
Office of the Attorney General
Under Vermont law, all paid fundraisers and paid solicitors who directly or indirectly solicit donations for charitable organizations or charitable purposes are required annually to register with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and to pay a registration fee. Generally, a paid fundraiser is “a person who, for financial consideration, solicits contributions from persons in this state, either directly or through employees, agents, or those with whom the paid fundraiser is in privity.” 9 V.S.A. § 1 2471(8). For more information, see the Vermont Attorney General’s website, or contact the Attorney General’s Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 802-828-5507.
Office of the Secretary of State
Once you have met their registration requirements you may apply for a Certificate of Authority by visiting the Online Business Service Center and selecting “Foreign Corporation,” “LLC,” or applicable entity type during the registration process. Please have a digital copy of Articles of Incorporation from your home state for upload. Visit our Online Registration Guide for how to get started.
To Register as a Telemarketer
Fill in and mail the registration form below, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and the $125 fee payable to the Vermont Office of the Secretary of State.
STOP: If you are a telemarketer that is a charitable organization looking to solicit actively in Vermont, or paid fundraiser acting on behalf of many clients, it is best that you file as a non-Vermont nonprofit with the Application for Certificate of Authority (Corporation), and NOT register as a telemarketer.