Some unethical bail bond companies would make it a practice to obtain the list of persons under arrest and at the local jail. The bail company would then cold-call members of the arrested person’s family informing the family of the arrest. These companies would tell the relative that they should hire X lawyer (i.e. their bail-bond whore) and he will get the bond set. The bail bond company would thereby solicit the bond and solicit business for their dead-beat lawyer.
An attorney cannot “cold-call” anyone to obtain their business. But some lawyers participated in this scheme with the bail bond companies knowing the companies would do their dirty work for them.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has ended this practice as all bail bond companies have now signed a “settlement agreement” which prohibits “cold calling” to solicit a bond. The settlement states:
” Minnesota law requires a pre-authorization to both collect and disclose personal or privileged information about an applicant or proposed insured, and also requires that certain notices be provided. Producers in general failed to do so. Instead, some producers gather on a regular basis, without authorization, investigative consumer reports, personal and privileged information, then cold call people who were not the criminal defendant, and improperly disclose personal and privileged information to these third parties. For example, without authorization, a producer would gather information about a criminal defendant, cold call the jailed person’s relative and tell them that their relative is in jail, and then solicit the person to bail them out of jail. Many producers make these unauthorized and unsolicited cold calls without ever having spoken first with the criminal defendant or having any connection to the criminal defendant. This type of solicitation is in violation of Minnesota’s insurance laws, and an insured’s or proposed insured’s right to privacy.
Even if a bail bond agency or producer are in compliance with the pre-authorization and notice requirements to gather and disclose personal and privileged information required of licensed insurance producers, the Department notes that other laws also impact their conduct. The bail bond agency and producer shall not initiate in-person or telephone solicitation after 9:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m. The producer shall not solicit a bond to any person by recorded, or electronic communication, or by live telephone contact, unless he or she is otherwise in compliance with applicable state and federal law, including, the following:
the National Do Not Call Registry pursuant to the Federal TradeCommission’s Telemarketing Sales Rules, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, and
the Federal Communications Commission’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 C.F.R. Section 64.1200.”
If you a receive a “cold call” from any bail bond company, I urge you to promptly report the matter to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The telephone number is (651) 539-1600 and ask to speak to an investigator in the Data Practice Enforcement Division.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a Minnesota DWI, contact Minneapolis DWI Lawyer F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI questions.