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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 449-S.F.No. 819 
                  An act relating to telephone services; prohibiting 
                  collection of charges for information services as if 
                  they were charges for telephone services; providing 
                  for notice of certain call blocking options; amending 
                  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 237.66, by adding a 
                  subdivision; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota 
                  Statutes, chapter 325F. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 237.66, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 2a.  [CALL BLOCKING.] A telephone company, when a 
        residential customer initially requests service, shall advise 
        each residential customer of the availability of all blocking 
        options including 900 number blocking and international 
        long-distance blocking. 
           Sec. 2.  [325F.692] [FRAUDULENT TELEPHONE SERVICES; 
        BILLING.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) For the purposes of this 
        section, the following terms have the meanings given them. 
           (b) "Information service" means a billed service 
        transmitted exclusively orally via the telecommunications 
        network that may include provision of information or advice, 
        participation in trivia or other games, participation in adult 
        conversation or other group bridging services, or provision of 
        similar billed services.  An information service may be accessed 
        by an information service customer by various methods including, 
        but not limited to, dialing a 1-900 or 1-800 telephone number, 
        or by the customer receiving a collect call from an information 
        service provider following the customer's 1-800 call. 
           (c) "Information service customer" means a person who 
        receives information transmitted from or participates in 
        conversation enabled by an information service provider. 
           (d) "Information service provider" means a person who 
        provides information services and directly, or indirectly 
        through a billing agent, charges information service customers 
        for use of the information service. 
           (e) "Telephone service subscriber" means a person who 
        contracts with a telephone company for telephone services. 
           Subd. 2.  [UNAUTHORIZED INFORMATION SERVICE CHARGES; 
        LIABILITY.] A telephone service subscriber is not responsible 
        for information service charges for calls made by minors or 
        other vulnerable adults as defined in section 626.557, 
        subdivision 2, paragraph (b), unless expressly authorized by the 
        subscriber or spouse. 
           Subd. 3.  [BILLING; SEGREGATED CHARGES; NOTICE.] (a) A 
        telephone company or independent telephone company, as defined 
        in section 237.01, or any other entity that serves as the 
        billing agent for information service charges shall, to the 
        extent it has knowledge, list the charges for information 
        services separately from charges for local and long distance 
        telephone service charges on each telephone service subscriber's 
        billing statement, regardless of whether an information service 
        customer initiated a call to access the information service or 
        whether the information service provider initiated a call to the 
        customer to allow the customer access to the information 
        service.  It is fraud under section 325F.69 to knowingly 
        identify information service charges as telephone charges.  A 
        common carrier is liable for fraud under this subdivision only 
        if it knowingly participates in the misidentification. 
           (b) A bill or the portion of a telephone bill for 
        information services must contain the following language printed 
        in at least ten-point bold type or typewritten in capital 
        letters in a color or shade that readily contrasts with the 
        background: 
           "YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISPUTE CHARGES FOR INFORMATION 
        SERVICE CALLS.  AS A TELEPHONE SERVICE SUBSCRIBER, YOU ARE NOT 
        LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR INFORMATION SERVICE CHARGES INCURRED BY 
        OTHERS WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT EXCEPT FOR CALLS MADE BY YOUR SPOUSE.
        NEITHER A LONG DISTANCE COMPANY NOR YOUR LOCAL TELEPHONE COMPANY 
        MAY DISCONNECT YOUR SERVICE BECAUSE YOU REFUSE TO PAY AN 
        INFORMATION SERVICE CHARGE." 
        The notice required by this paragraph can be provided in 
        conjunction with other required notices. 
           Subd. 4.  [FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION.] It is fraudulent 
        misrepresentation under section 325F.69 for an information 
        service provider or a provider's agent, including an agent or 
        employee of an entity that provides billing services for an 
        information service provider, to knowingly advise an information 
        service customer or a telephone service subscriber, either 
        orally or in writing, that: 
           (1) information service charges not incurred or authorized 
        by a telephone service subscriber are the responsibility of the 
        subscriber; 
           (2) parents or guardians of minors or other vulnerable 
        people are responsible for information service charges incurred 
        by the minors or other vulnerable persons; or 
           (3) the availability of telephone service for the 
        subscriber may be affected by failure to pay information service 
        charges not incurred or authorized by the subscriber. 
           Subd. 5.  [ALLOCATION OF PAYMENT OF TELEPHONE BILLS.] The 
        telephone service subscriber shall have the right to direct 
        partial payments of a telephone bill.  Unless otherwise directed 
        by the telephone service subscriber, a telephone company or 
        other billing entity that receives partial payment of a 
        telephone bill shall allocate the partial payment first to 
        charges for telephone services, and last to charges for 
        information services. 
           Subd. 6.  [INDEMNITY.] A telephone company or independent 
        telephone company has a right of indemnity against anyone who 
        has provided it with false information as to the status of 
        information charges. 
           Subd. 7.  [INVOLUNTARY BLOCKING.] Anyone who has refused to 
        pay for two months of information charge bills or one month of 
        charges in excess of $500 may be blocked from access to 
        information services. 
           Subd. 8.  [EXCEPTION.] This section does not apply to 
        information services provided via the international telephone 
        network if the charge for the information service call is based 
        on tariff rates and does not apply to traditional long-distance 
        telephone calls. 
           Subd. 9.  [CALLER RESPONSIBILITY.] This section does not 
        affect the legal responsibility of the person who places an 
        information service call for the charges for the call. 
           Subd. 10.  [CALLER CODES REGULATED.] Information service 
        providers or their agents and telephone companies shall not 
        issue calling card identification codes or personal 
        identification numbers (PIN codes) to consumers over the 
        telephone.  This subdivision does not apply to the issuance of 
        identification codes or personal identification numbers to 
        consumers by a financial institution as defined in United States 
        Code, title 18, section 20, or an affiliate or subsidiary of a 
        financial institution. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 237.075, is amended by 
        adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 11.  [RECOVERY OF EXPENSES OF SEGREGATING BILLING 
        CHARGES.] The public utilities commission shall allow each telephone 
        company and independent telephone company subject to the 
        requirements of section 2 to automatically adjust tariffs or 
        rates paid by information service providers to reflect the 
        reasonable cost to the company to comply with section 2. 
           Presented to the governor April 12, 1994 
           Signed by the governor April 15, 1994, 1:58 p.m.