Written by Ernie Cooper
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted new rules that require companies to obtain prior express written consent from consumers before calling them with prerecorded telemarketing “robocalls.” For the most part, the new robocall rules adopted by the FCC simply mirror similar rules adopted by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in 2008, meaning that most companies making prerecorded telemarketing calls will presumably already be in compliance. However, companies such as banks, telephone companies, and airlines, which are exempt from FTC regulation, will now need to comply with the written consent and related requirements as adopted by the FCC. FCC rules on calls to wireless phones apply to both voice calls and text messages.
The new Robocall Rules adopt a requirement already in FTC rules that prerecorded calls must include an automated means to allow called parties to opt out of future telemarketing calls. The FCC also matched FTC rules on measuring compliance with telemarketing dropped call standards to minimize the number of consumers getting “dead air” calls.
Different from the FTC rules, and therefore a new requirement for all companies engaged in telemarketing, is the FCC requirement that callers obtain prior express written consent from wireless phone users for telemarketing calls made using automatic telephone dialing equipment (i.e., an “autodialer”), even if the calls are not prerecorded.
Informational and other calls that do not involve telemarketing can continue to be made under current rules for consent for calls made to wireless phones and without consent for calls made to residential (“wireline”) phones. The rules also do not apply to calls made by or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. As a result, prior written consent is not required for autodialed calls that do not advertise a product or service, including calls by nonprofits or for political purposes. Also, the new restrictions do not apply to informational calls that may be commercial in nature, such as calls from an airline informing passengers that their flights have been delayed or calls from a bank informing a customer of fraudulent charges to her account.
The Robocall Rules impose some key new requirements. Continue reading……