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FCC Finally Nuking Annoying "Robocalls" With New Rules

By - Source: FCC | B 35 comments

The FCC has approved new rules that seemingly put an end to those annoying "robocalls" during dinner.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is now cracking down on what it calls "robocalls," those annoying automated phone calls that typically feature a recorded message telling consumers to "wait for a representative," "you won a free trip" or something similar immediately after they've answered the phone. Thanks to new rules approved by the FCC, telemarketers are now required to obtain written consent before placing another robocall.

According to the FCC, the "written consent" doesn't necessarily mean a hand-written signature -- a digital version will work just fine. The new rules also eliminate a loophole that allowed telemarketers to place robocalls if they had an "established business relationship" with the consumer. Previously U.S. residents had to sign up for a national do-not-call list to be exempt from this loophole.

On Wednesday the FCC stated that the new rules won't apply to information robocalls like automated messages from schools or flight changes. But the rules do require telemarketers to provide an automated opt-out mechanism during each robocall so that consumers can revoke their consent. If the consumer does choose to opt-out, telemarketers must add them to their do-not-call list.

"Robocalls invade consumers' privacy, and can, in the case of calls to wireless numbers, use up their minutes," the FCC said on Wednesday. "The Order adopted today helps put an end to these intrusions by empowering consumers with increased rights under the FCC’s telemarketing rules. The new rules reduce regulatory uncertainty with minimal burden on industry and maximize consistency with those of the Federal Trade Commission."

"Consumers by the thousands have complained to us, letting us know that they remain unhappy with having their privacy invaded and their time wasted by these unwanted calls," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

So how long will it take telemarketers to find a loophole around this new set of rules?

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    turbotong , February 16, 2012 4:06 PM
    Not long. I guess if a company played a robo message that lasted 20 minutes but the "opt-out by pressing *#643125987394***** comes at the very end, it is still useless.
    Maybe this was accounted for in details omitted by this Tom's article.
  • 15 Hide
    classzero , February 16, 2012 4:06 PM
    Good!
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , February 16, 2012 4:07 PM
    Now all they need to do is eliminate the ability to forge caller ID. Without that ability the ones that ignore the law won't be able to hide any longer.
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    Display all 35 comments.
  • 15 Hide
    classzero , February 16, 2012 4:06 PM
    Good!
  • 15 Hide
    turbotong , February 16, 2012 4:06 PM
    Not long. I guess if a company played a robo message that lasted 20 minutes but the "opt-out by pressing *#643125987394***** comes at the very end, it is still useless.
    Maybe this was accounted for in details omitted by this Tom's article.
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , February 16, 2012 4:07 PM
    Now all they need to do is eliminate the ability to forge caller ID. Without that ability the ones that ignore the law won't be able to hide any longer.
  • 7 Hide
    NapoleonDK , February 16, 2012 4:13 PM
    Quote:
    The new rules also eliminate a loophole that allowed telemarketers to place robocalls if they had an "established business relationship" with the consumer. Previously U.S. residents had to sign up for a national do-not-call list to be exempt from this loophole.
    I've been on the DNC list for over 2 years. I have an account with US Bank and I still get calls from "Cardholder Services" or whatever it is. Really pisses me off...it's always a recording asking me to stay on the line because they're worried about my well-being and that my credit card interest rate might be too high. Go figure.
  • 13 Hide
    punahou1 , February 16, 2012 4:25 PM
    What about robocalls from politicians? Those are becoming the worst. Apparently the FCC has exempted political robocalls from their do not call ruling...
  • 8 Hide
    Onus , February 16, 2012 4:49 PM
    I'm with NapoleonDK. I have filed MANY complaints over the last few months about these calls from "Cardmember Services." I too have been on the DNC lists (Federal and State) for years, and reconfirmed that they're active. This is willful wrongdoing; I want someone caught, convicted, and put down like an animal. GAME OVER.
  • 2 Hide
    olaf , February 16, 2012 5:22 PM
    thank god i dont live in the us, and i dont actualy have to pay anything if someone calls me on one of my cells. And i dont have annoying phone calls like that.
  • 3 Hide
    d-isdumb , February 16, 2012 5:32 PM
    Now if we could get them to limit TV advertisements to 10 minutes of every hour instead of the 20+ the shove on us now life would be good.
  • 0 Hide
    sliem , February 16, 2012 5:56 PM
    I switched to Voip and now I only answer numbers that I recognize. Those that keep calling = blocked. So far no problem. Also it's $100/yr instead of $25 a month.
  • -1 Hide
    yumri4 , February 16, 2012 6:01 PM
    to d-isdumb if they do that then the cost of a tv advertisement will go up and it most likely will be reflected in the cost of the products to the consumer thus hurting us in the wallet instead of just wasting our time with advisements for junk which we do not want or need.
    On the FCC ruling i am sure the companies have a team of lawyers working on finding them a loophole for getting around it.
  • 3 Hide
    TeraMedia , February 16, 2012 6:04 PM
    @NapoleonDK and jtt283, I get these all the time too. I don't think it's from any legitimate organization, but rather from phone scammers trying to get my personal and bank info. It's fraud. The calls come in from god-knows how many real and imaginary phone numbers, so they appear to be experts at befuddling the phone system and caller ID technology. A couple of times, I've stayed on the line long enough to get to a person, just to see if I could get that person to tell me any info that I could use to track her down (it's always been a woman with an ESL accent). But no luck. Post if you ever figure out how to get these B@$7@rd$, so that I can go after them too.
  • 4 Hide
    cronik93 , February 16, 2012 6:21 PM
    Guy with the missing eye is kinda freaking me out...
  • 5 Hide
    velocityg4 , February 16, 2012 6:39 PM
    Now they need to expand the do not call list to include charities, campaigns and surveys. If someone does not want to be called by any entity they have no business or charitable relationship with they should be able to register and avoid those calls. The list should also allow businesses to register their lines.

    It is ridiculous that I have to field cold calls on my business phone just because it is advertised. That line is for customers. I never have and never will do business with someone that cold calls me. Since it is a cell phone I tell them that and to put me on the do not call list. Then I file a complaint with the FCC.

    They should also require any company with a US phone number to have actual offices in the US. That way they can be fined or closed down and the managers imprisoned. Rather than foreign call centers just leapfrogging through a US number and ignoring all rules.

    Also rather than waiting for the FCC to take action. Individual consumers should be able to sue telemarketers directly for the amounts listed on FCC fines. That willll stop cold calling fast. For do not call list numbers the company must prove that they had a prior or ongoing business relationship with the number called.
  • 2 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , February 16, 2012 7:20 PM
    Regulating those damn campaign robocalls should also be put into the new law. I don't know many times in one week those damn annoying campaign robo calls called my house and it's just going to get worse right before the national election. Crap like that makes me not want to vote.
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 16, 2012 8:12 PM
    Screw the consumers. We got the money to pay for millions of minutes. Who cares if they have to pay for our call minutes as well.
  • 0 Hide
    Noworldorder , February 16, 2012 9:02 PM
    The new rule exempts POLITICAL robocalls.
  • 0 Hide
    Soul_keeper , February 16, 2012 9:17 PM
    I get automated calls every day.
    The national do not call list did not help (they simply change phone numbers each day).
    Something tells me this will not stop them ...
  • 4 Hide
    livebriand , February 17, 2012 12:54 AM
    Note to advertisers: if you want me to buy your product, one of the worst things you can possibly do is send me spam, ads, or robocalls.
  • 3 Hide
    livebriand , February 17, 2012 12:54 AM
    Note to advertisers: if you want me to buy your product, one of the worst things you can possibly do is send me spam, ads, or robocalls.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , February 17, 2012 5:49 AM
    @livebriand
    Well said and well said
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