By: Jeffrey Lapin
On February 15, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced new consumer protections against telemarketing robocalls. A “robocall”, also called an “autodialed call”, is a call which has a pre-recorded message made using an automatic telephone dialing system. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) already places limits on unsolicited prerecorded calls to landline home telephones, and all autodialed or prerecorded calls to wireless numbers. For more information about the TCPA, check out our website here . The FCC’s new rules further restrict robocalls and are intended to make it easier for a consumer to stop receiving them.
Prior to the FCC’s announcement yesterday, telemarketers could robocall a consumer if they had an “established business relationship” with the telemarketer. This usually meant that you have done business with the telemarketer within eighteen (18) months of the robocall.
The new rules require a consumer’s express, written consent before they can call any phone number. “Written consent” means either actual writing or electronically. The new rules also give consumers the power to stop future calls quickly by providing an “opt out” mechanism during the first few seconds of each robocall. By “opting out” a consumer revokes any prior consent to these types of call. If a consumer “opts out” the call must end and the telemarketer must add the consumer’s phone number to the company’s do-not-call list.
However, there are still “loopholes” and exceptions to these new rules. They do not affect “informational” calls to landlines such as those regarding school closings, airline flight information or notifications about possible fraudulent activity on a credit card. Your consent is still required for these types of calls to cell phones. In addition, political, polls and non-profit robocalls are still permitted. Finally, telemarketers can still have a “real” person call without violating the new rules.
The rules will come into effect as soon as they are approved by the Office of Management and Budget.
SUGGESTIONS REGARDING ROBOCALLS
- Make sure you are on the National “Do Not Call” Registry, which is also known as the “Do Not Call List.” You can go to the website site to register by clicking here. Contrary to what most people believe, your registration on the list will not expire. This is due to a change in the law in 2008 that removed the requirement to re-register every five years.
- Once the new FCC rules come into effect, opt-out of all future robocalls as soon as you are called.
- Do not provide your phone number to businesses unless it is required. When you give your phone number this may constitute your consent to receive robocalls.
- If you are on the Do Not Call List or have “opted out” and still receive telemarketing robocalls, contact Lapin Law Offices to learn more about your rights.
PRIOR POSTS CONSUMER PROTECTION POSTS
- A Victory for Consumers: H.R. 3035 (The Mobile Informational Caller Act of 2011) Killed By Co-Sponsors
- Proposed Act Would Permit Debt Collectors to Use Auto-Dialers to Call Cellular Telephones
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – Will It Be Better for Consumers or Debt Collectors?
ABOUT LAPIN LAW OFFICES
Lapin Law Offices represents persons harassed or abused by telemarketers and debt collectors. You can learn more about us and about your rights by calling us at 402-421-8033 anytime (24/7) or on our websites: LapinLawOffices.com or StopBadCollectors.com.