FCC strengthens protections against robocalls

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved changes to its rules governing telemarketing practices that will further protect consumers from unwanted autodialed or prerecorded calls, also known as “robocalls.”

In a Report and Order issued in February 2012, the Commission took steps to align its regulations of robocalls with those of the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, as required under the Do-Not-Call-Implementation Act. The rule changes will further protect consumers from robocalls in the following ways:

  • Telemarketers will be required to obtain prior express written consent from consumers before placing robocalls to them. Written consent can be obtained by electronic means, such as a website form, for example.
  • The exemption to obtain permission from those consumers with an “established business relationship” with a company has been eliminated.
  • Robocalls will now be required to include an “opt-out” mechanism so that consumers can signal their desire to be dropped from authorized calling lists.
  • Telemarketers will now be limited as to the number of abandoned or “dead air” calls they can make within each calling campaign. 

Exemptions from the new rules will remain for informational automated calls, such as those alerting communities to school closings and local emergencies. Read the complete text of the Commission’s Report and Order regarding robocalls.