Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

FCC Rules on Robocalls

In the battle against unwanted sales calls, it's nice to know the government is on your side. The Do Not Call Registry was a good start, but in the age of cell phones, emails, and text messages, regulatory agencies can struggle to keep pace with tech-savvy telemarketers.

So the Federal Communications Commission recently issued some new advice on stopping unwanted calls, texts, and even faxes. (Remember those?) The FCC also published their telemarketing rules, establishing restriction on robocalls. Here's what you need to know:

Rules and Regs

The FCC's telemarketing rules are pretty clear:

  • Anyone making a telephone solicitation call to your home must provide his or her name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity can be contacted;
  • Telephone solicitation calls to your home before 8 am or after 9 pm are prohibited; and
  • Telemarketers must immediately comply with any do-not-call request you make during a call.

If a caller fails to comply with these regulations, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

Restricting Robocalls

Along with any tech that can block robocalls, the FCC encourages those wishing to avoid sales calls to add their number to the Do Not Call registry. The registry protects both landlines and cell phones, and also applies to unsolicited text messages. And any robocall -- including political, polling, and other non-telemarketing robocalls -- requires your permission to be made to a wireless phone.

Just because you have an existing relationship with a company, that doesn't give them the right to robocall you, and a company can't make consent to be called or texted a condition of a sale. Companies must honor any reasonable request to cease robocalls, and if they don't comply with FCC regulations consumers are allowed to sue them.

We may not be free of unsolicited robocalls just yet, but with a little help from the FCC, we might be a step or two closer.

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