F.C.C. Tightens Restrictions on Robocalls and Spam Texts

The Federal Communications Commission voted last week to place further limitations on telemarketing practices. Here is a brief overview of the Commission’s ruling:

  • Service providers are permitted to offer technologies to block automated calls and texts without legal repercussions.
  • Consumers have the right to end these automated communications “in any reasonable way at any time.”
  • Telemarketers may call a reassigned number one time and then must stop unless granted consent by the new recipient.
  • Consumers whose name or number is contained in the list of contacts on an acquaintance’s phone does not consent to receive robocalls from third-party applications downloaded by the acquaintance.
  • Reaffirmation of previous restrictions:
    • An “autodialer” is defined as any technology with the capacity to dial a random or sequential list of numbers (so companies cannot evade this rule by altering technologies or calling from a list).
    • Consumers are afforded the same rights for text messages as they are for voice calls to wireless numbers.
    • Technology used to send Internet-to-phone text messages is considered to be an autodialer, so callers must obtain consent prior to messaging consumers.
    • No changes are being made to the national Do-Not-Call registry.
  • Limited exemptions for urgent circumstances:
    • Permitted without prior consent: free calls or texts to alert consumers to possible fraud on their bank accounts or remind them of important medication refills, among other financial or healthcare messages. Consumers may opt out of these calls at any time.
    • Not permitted without prior consent: other types of financial or healthcare calls, such as marketing or debt collection calls.

 

Read the F.C.C. press release here.

Read how new user agreements for PayPal and eBay may be affected by this here.

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