FCC Proposes to Shackle Robocalls

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Contact between banks and their customers could potentially become more expensive and burdensome under recently proposed Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") rule changes. These rules apply to banks, despite the traditional rule that banks are subject only to bank regulators' jurisdiction. See Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, OCC Bulletin 2007-30 (reminding bank CEOs and compliance officers that banks must comply with the FCC's telemarketing rules).1 The proposals seek to limit how prerecorded and automated phone messages (i.e., "robocalls") may be made to existing and prospective customers. See Telephone Consumer Protection Proposed Rule Changes, 75 Fed. Reg. 13,471 (March 22, 2010) (to be codified at 47 CFR pts. 64 and 68). Under the rule changes, robocalls will be subject to heightened regulatory burdens when those calls are made to residential and cellular numbers, including calls made to existing customers. With respect to residential numbers, these burdens apply only to telemarketing calls. However, the burdens apply to both telemarketing and non-commercial calls made to cellular numbers.2 As a result, robocalls made without prior written consent to cell phones for customer service or late payment reasons will be limited by the new regulations.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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