FCC finally cracks down on annoying telemarketing robocalls

Telemarketing robocalls may get fewer.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved new rules requiring telemarketers that use autodialed or prerecorded telephone calls to sell products, to get written approval from customers before sending them “robocalls”.

Unwanted telemarketing robocalls and text messages were among the top consumer complaints to the FCC in 2011, the agency said.

“The new rules are necessary because telemarketers are abusing the system,” said Julius Genachowski, the FCC’s chairman. “Despite these clear ground rules, too many telemarketers, aided by autodialers and prerecorded messages, have continued to call consumers who don’t want to hear from them,” he said. “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.”

CTIA, a trade group representing mobile carriers, praised the decision. About 80 percent of mobile complaints are related to unsolicited third-party phone calls  or telemarketing robocalls and text messages, the group said. Customers are the “winners” in the FCC’s decision, according to the trade group.

The new regulations will allow telemarketers to get online permission from consumers. The rules don’t apply to informational calls, such as automated calls related to school closings or flight changes.

The rules now require telemarketers to provide an opt-out mechanism during the telemarketing robocalls so that consumers can immediately tell them to stop calling.



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