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Commission Strengthens Consumer Protections Against Robocalls

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken steps to strengthen and clarify its regulations protecting consumers from unwanted robocalls and spam emails and texts.

In a package of declaratory rulings issued in mid-June 2015, the Commission took steps to address nearly two dozen formal petitions and other requests seeking clarification on the Commission’s interpretation of the provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that deal with prerecorded and artificial voice calls received by residential wireline phones as well as wireless numbers.

The Commission’s declaratory rulings provided specific clarification on a number of issues, including the following:

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Pulse Amplifier Definitions and Terminology

This application note serves as a comprehensive resource, defining key terms like duty cycle, pulse rate, rise/fall time, and pulse width, as well as discussing pulse on/off ratio, RF delay, jitter, and stability.
  • “Stop” means stop—Consumers have the right to revoke their prior consent to receive robocalls and robotexts at any time.
  • Reassigned numbers—Companies must cease contacting consumers of newly reassigned phone numbers after one call.
  • Text messages are the same as calls—Wireless consumers are entitled to the same consent protections for texts as they are for voice calls.
  • Definition of “autodialer”—An “autodialer” is defined any technology with the capacity to dial random or sequential numbers.
  • The use of “do not disturb” technology—Consumers are free to use blocking technologies to stop unwanted robocalls.

The Commission says that consumer complaints related to unwanted calls topped 215,000 in 2014 alone, making it largest category of complaints received by the FCC.

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