For most people, automated calls and texts from various businesses have long been a source of annoyance about which it seemed there was little one could do. That could soon change, however, if the Federal Communications Commission votes to approve a proposed rule change regarding the use of autodial technology. If adopted, the new rule would provide legal protection to telecommunications companies that wish to offer customers the ability to block all incoming automated communications. The FCC received over 215,000 consumer complaints about automatic calls and texts from May 2014 to May 2015, a number far higher than any other practice covered under the FCC’s regulatory jurisdiction, which includes internet, TV, and radio services in addition to phone service.
The FCC wants to make it clear: Telephone companies can – and in fact should – offer consumers robocall-blocking tools,
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote in a blog post.
Under current law, companies are required to obtain a person’s consent in writing before marketing to that person through a cellular and must comply with any customer decision to revoke consent by “reasonable” means, a broad definition that includes, for example, requesting to be removed from a marketing list while speaking to a company sales representative over the phone. However, telecom companies have been wary of providing customers with the ability to block automated communications because of its potential conflict with another regulation requiring them to permit the transmission of all phone communications that pass through their systems. Consumer groups and business groups alike have asked the FCC to clarify the implications of these provisions, which resulted in the Commission’s present policy reassessment.
Read more here – “FCC Looks to Crack Down on Robocalls, Robotexts,” (Alina Selyukh, Reuters).