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The Revision of Telemarketing “Robocalls”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), regulates telemarketing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), has proposed revised telemarketing rules governing prerecorded telemarketing calls. These so called “robocalls” will be done away with to harmonize with the rules the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recently amended in the Telemarketing Sales Rule.The new FTC rules are pursuant to the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.

While most companies or organizations that use robocalls are regulated by both the FTC and the FCC, there are others such as common carriers, banks, and insurance companies, which fall under the FCC’s jurisdiction only. In doing so, they have been subject to less restrictive standards since the FTC amended its Rule in 2008.

The FCC’s proposed changes would not affect robocalls from or on behalf of:

  • non-profit organizations (tax-exempt)
  • calls for political purposes or for other noncommercial purposes
  • calls initiated for emergency purposes

Have something to say? “Comments are due 60 days and reply comments are due 90 days after the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register, which has not occurred as of this blog. Comments may be filed electronically using the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS).”

Here are the proposed changes to the current FCC Rules:

The FCC has proposed five amendments to conform its rules with the FTC’s more restrictive rules.

(1) Written Consent Requirement. If you want to receive these robocalls it must be “prior consent”. Written or oral is fine. Written is required if you signed up with the National Do No Call Registry.

(2) Eliminating the Exemption for Prerecorded Telemarketing Calls to Established Business Relationship Customers. If you have an established business relationship, robocalls from said company will still continue.

(3) Exemption for Healthcare-Related Calls Subject to HIPAA. FCC has proposed exempting certain healthcare-related automated calls from the general prohibition on robocalls to residential lines.

(4) Opt-Out Mechanism. The proposed changes would make sure machines had an interactive opt-out mechanism.

(5) Abandoned Calls. The prevention of telemarketers from engaging in the practice of computing a single abandonment rate for all campaigns conducted in a 30-day period has been proposed.