FCC Adopts Rules Requiring Written Consent for Telemarketing “Robocalls”


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.

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