WASHINGTON – Jan. 24, 2014 – All U.S. telemarketers – a group that includes Realtors calling residential or cell phone lines – must follow new and stricter Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules over robocalls. A robocall is considered any pre-recorded telemarketing call made to a home landline, or any pre-recorded or auto-dialed telemarketing call or text to a wireless number.
In general, the new rules ban telemarketers from calling or messaging any home or mobile device unless they have documentation of a consumer’s express, unambiguous, consent – and that consent can no longer be buried in the fine print.
Consent can be obtained through website forms, a telephone keypress, or a recording of the recipient’s oral consent.
Established business rule
Another change: The “established business rule” that allows calls a telemarketer to call a residence is now much stricter when applied to robocalls.
Telemarketers were never legally allowed to make robocalls to a wireless phone based solely on an “established business relationship.” That rule has effectively been extended to residential phone lines too. Even if a recipient bought something from the caller or just asked for more information, a telemarketer cannot robocall without prior express written consent.
The new rules also require telemarketers to empower receivers to opt out of further robocalls, even if they previously gave permission. That opt-out power has to be announced at the outset of the message, and it must be available throughout the call.
For more information, visit the FCC’s Robocalls webpage.
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