FCC Chairwoman proposes ruling declaring ringless voicemails subject to TCPA autodialer prohibition

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Although several court decisions have held that ringless voicemails to a consumer’s cell phone constitute “calls” subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) autodialer prohibition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  has not yet officially weighed in on the question.  In 2017, a marketing company filed a petition with the FCC seeking a declaratory ruling that the technology was not subject to the TCPA but the petition was withdrawn.

Earlier this month, the FCC issued a press release announcing that FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel, in response to the petition, had proposed a ruling that, if adopted by the full commission, would require callers to obtain consent before leaving a ringless voicemail on a consumer’s cell phone.  As described in the press release, the proposed Declaratory Ruling and Order would find that ringless voicemails are “calls” requiring prior express consent.

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