FCC Proposes Tougher Restrictions on “Robocalls”

Under the proposed rules, which were issued January 20, prerecorded outbound telemarketing calls, or “robocalls,” would require prior written consent from recipients – even if the caller has an established business relationship with the call recipient. (Electronic methods of consent, such as an e-mail, would be acceptable.)

In addition, robocalls would also be required to have an automated, interactive mechanism that would allow a recipient to opt-out of receiving any future robocalls.

The proposed rule changes would not affect categories of prerecorded message calls that are not covered under the TCPA, such as calls by or on behalf of tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations, or calls that deliver purely “informational” messages.

The FCC proposed that if the rules were to take effect, it would defer the effective date of the opt-out requirement for three months, and the proposed written agreement requirement for 12 months to give callers time to comply.

The revisions are an attempt to bring the FCC’s rules in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. Although most companies that use robocalls are subject to regulation by both agencies, the FCC’s changes would bring those companies outside of FTC rule coverage (and currently subject to less restrictive standards) under similar rules.

 

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